Before electing to go with Blade Runner 2049, the science fiction sequel’s producers considered calling the movie Blade Runner: Androids Dream, in homage to the short story that inspired the original 1982 film. Blade Runner 2049 revisits the futuristic universe created three decades ago by Ridley Scott in his influential movie based on Philip K. Dick’s story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
After waiting 35 years for a sequel to Blade Runner, fans have finally gotten their chance to return to that movie’s dystopian world, now updated and expanded upon by Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve. Though many have praised the film’s rapturously gorgeous visuals and beautifully-realized settings, a lot of folks have found the movie less-than-satisfying on a story level, and have criticized it for its slow pace and over-long running time. Projected to open in the $40 million range, the film underperformed at the box office with just $31.5 million in receipts.
The title Blade Runner 2049 refers to the year in which the movie is set, but producers have now revealed that they originally had a different title in mind that was less straightforward and more esoteric. At one point, Alcon Entertainment’s Andrew Cosgrove told the site Monsters & Critics, the film was going to be called Blade Runner: Androids Dream in reference to the Philip K. Dick story upon which the first film was based. Cosgrove explained why they eventually elected to scrap Androids Dream go with the final title:
“I think [Alcon partner] Broderick [Johnson] and I ultimately felt that simpler was better. The fact that the original movie and the original first frame of the film is Los Angeles 2019, and since our story takes place 30 years hence, we thought it was very simple and clean just to call it Blade Runner 2049 as opposed to a lot of these other titles being kicked around.
Screenwriter Michael Green has revealed that at various times the movie also went under the working titles Acid Zoo and Queensboro. The Acid Zoo title was apparently inspired by Green’s co-writer (and original Blade Runner writer) Hampton Fancher, who once dropped acid and went to the zoo to stare at gorillas.
Though Androids Dream might have been a nice shout-out to Philip K. Dick, a man whose work has inspired roughly 90% of the science fiction movies of the last 30 years, the title would have meant nothing to the casual fan and likely would have just led to confusion. Blade Runner 2049 may be a bit more generic as a title, but from a pure marketing stand-point, it gets the job done with as little fuss and bother as possible.
As it turned out, general audiences were less enthusiastic than expected about Blade Runner 2049, and it’s unlikely the title had anything to do with that. Blade Runner may be a huge movie for science fiction geeks and fans of early ’80s genre cinema, but the name clearly doesn’t mean enough to the casual moviegoer to generate excitement or ticket sales, however beautifully-rendered the sequel may be. Blade Runner 2049 was written in such a way that another sequel is possible, but after looking at the movie’s numbers, it seems unlikely that anyone will be scrambling to keep the android dream alive for a third film.
Source: Monsters & Critics
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