Denis Villeneuve's long-awaited sequel to Blade Runner is struggling to get off the ground, with Blade Runner 2049 opening well below initial projections. Ridley Scott's cult classic from the 1980s has continued to become more revered in the years since it initially opened to poor reviews and a low box office total. The original only grossed $32 million at the box office, but the cult classic following it received in years since has somewhat made up for the initial flop.
With an incredible cast and crew assembled for Blade Runner 2049, there was hope that it would not be a repeat for the franchise. After all, it has one of the hottest directors in the business attached, Ryan Gosling fresh off of La La Land, and Harrison Ford returning to prominence once again. However, the appetite for the nearly three-hour epic is not there.
Box Office Mojo is projecting Blade Runner 2049 to fall even further below expectations and only pull in $31.5 million in its opening weekend. The sequel was originally projected to take in $40-$45 million domestically in the first three days of release, and looked on track to do just that with solid Thursday night numbers. However, following a disappointing Friday, the projections have continued to drop.
There are many factors that could have dragged Blade Runner 2049's box office numbers down. The first issue here has been the cult classic standing of the original. With most of the general public never seeing the original (or maybe not liking the original theatrical cut), the interest in going back to that world may never have been there. The other potential downfall here will be the runtime as it sits at 2 hours and 43 minutes, a lengthy commitment for the average person to make.
While what exactly is causing 2049 to fall flat at the box office is unclear, hopefully it is a film that will continue to have legs domestically and pull in more audiences internationally. 2049 has a reportedly monster budget (anywhere between $150 million to $200 million depending on the source), so it will be very difficult for the film to turn a profit thanks to this opening. Given the movie's quality and raving reviews (you can read ours here), it may ultimately prove to be a rewarding endeavor for the studio if awards recognition comes its way. But, if those accolades do not come, the film will need much stronger followup weekends to be deemed a success.
Source: Box Office Mojo