Blade Runner 2049 is reportedly facing about $80 million in loses for its production company by the time the film ends its theatrical run. The long-awaited sequel to director Ridley Scott's 1982 cult classic Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 showed tremendous promise prior to its release, earning almost universally positive early reviews on its way to "fresh" rating of 88 percent from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Set 30 years after the original, Blade Runner 2049 finds Harrison Ford reprising his role of former Blade Runner Rick Deckard, whose gone into hiding after the events of the first film. With Ford taking on a supporting role, Ryan Gosling is featured in the lead as modern-day Blade Runner Officer K, who is sent on a sensitive mission to retire modern day replicants involved in a revolution that threatens the balance of power between the enslaved synthetics and their human superiors. Along the way, however, he gets caught up in a mystery involving Deckard that makes him question his very existence.
Despite the film's star power and critical acclaim, Blade Runner 2049 took the top box office slot domestically in its opening frame, but earned a disappointing $31.5 million while doing so. Unfortunately, the film didn't fare any better overseas thereafter, even hitting the wall in the normally lucrative Chinese market.
Now, after just over a month in theaters, industry insiders are starting to deliver their postmortems on Blade Runner 2049, which finished in 7th place at the domestic box office over the weekend with $2.3 million in ticket sales. According to THR, insiders close to the project say that production company Alcon Entertainment and its investors could lose up to $80 million on Blade Runner 2049, as its theatrical run draws to a close.
THR says the film's gross as of Sunday was $240.6 million worldwide, which is a "poor showing" considering the film was produced for $155 million after tax incentives. Also affecting the film's bottom line is its marketing spend, as well as back-end deals with its principal performers and filmmakers, which were not disclosed. Insiders, however, told THR in an article prior to the film's release on October 6 the Blade Runner sequel would need to clear $400 million globally to be considered a "win."
Despite the complicated math and undisclosed figures that go into determining the big losses Blade Runner 2049 is reportedly facing, one party that appears to be in the clear when the dust settles is Warner Bros. THR says the studio giant, while distributing the film domestically because of a long-standing deal with Alcon Entertainment, is not a co-financier on the picture. Sony Pictures, which did invest in Blade Runner 2049 and distributed the film in foreign territories, is expected to recoup its $110 million investment in the production, THR says.
At this point, the best hope for Alcon Entertainment is to take advantage of Blade Runner 2049's awards season prospects and whittle down its financial losses, in the process. Directed by Osar-nominee Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 is getting a full Oscar campaign, and any amount of success through nominations or wins, including Best Picture, will certainly raise the film's profile and ultimately help its bottom line through monies earned in theatrical re-releases and/or home video.