Early box office projections suggest that Blade Runner 2049 will pull ahead of Arrival to become director Denis Villeneuve’s biggest movie opening yet. In the annals of sci-fi history, there are few films as revered or influential as director Ridley Scott’s original 1982 classic Blade Runner. As beloved as Blade Runner tends to be though, it can be easy to forget that the film was not a box office success and earned a mere $33 million in theaters. With a reported production budget of $28 million, that qualifies Blade Runner as a full-on box office bomb.
Still, the multiple video releases and other merchandising opportunities presented by Blade Runner’s eventual emergence as a genre classic have surely brought the film into the black financially by now, which one presumes was a consideration when the decision was made to finally tackle a sequel. Blade Runner 2049 arrives in theaters next month, on the back of a lot of hype and anticipation and with original star Harrison Ford back as Rick Deckard.
While it obviously remains to be seen if Blade Runner 2049 can live up to its progenitor from a creative standpoint, Variety reports that early box office projections have the sequel scoring a $40 million domestic opening weekend. That puts it within the same range as projections for fellow R-rated sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which hits theaters next week (at the time of writing this).
That said, the question now becomes whether or not a $40 million opening would be a disappointment for Blade Runner 2049. Unfortunately, the answer to that query isn’t easy to define, as precise production budget figures for Villeneuve’s futuristic sequel have yet to be publicly released. However, there is some available information that can be used to surmise whether that $40 million would be coming up short financially for the film.
Late last year, Villeneuve said that the producers of Blade Runner 2049 enjoyed reminding him that the sequel was on track to become one of the most expensive R-rated films in history. One of the highest-budgeted R-rated films to date is Mad Max: Fury Road at $150 million. That film opened at $45 million, and ended up grossing $378 million worldwide due to high overseas earnings. Assuming that Blade Runner 2049’s budget is at least in the $150 million range, the sequel will probably be fine money-wise, as long as it performs well internationally. If not, the world may soon have two Blade Runner movies that underwhelmed at the box office.
That being said: THR is reporting that Blade Runner 2049 cost “at least” $100 million to make. If the actual production budget is closer to $100M than $150M, then a $40M opening weekend would be all the better a turnout for it. Stay tuned for more information on that front, as it becomes available.
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