The estimated budget for Blade Runner 2049 has been revealed. Covering events that take place 30 years after Ridley Scott’s original, the long-awaited sequel and expansion of the Blade Runner saga is expected to have the biggest box office opening yet for director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival). It also marks the big-budget debut for Ryan Gosling, who was thrilled to take on such a thematically rich project.
But what about that aforementioned big budget? Recent Blade Runner 2049 trailers and clips depict a visually stunning world built by Villeneuve, a setting that in many ways is much different from the 2019-era Los Angeles presented in the 1982 original. It certainly looks like a big-budget setting, and a new report confirms that the sequel, while costing under $200 million, will be one of the most expensive movies to come out in 2017.
Related: Blade Runner 2049 Runtime Confirmed
THR reported that Blade Runner 2049 would be on track for a box office opening in the range of at least $40 million when it hits theaters next month. The story was updated to report an estimated budget ranging from “well north” of $150 million to as much as $185 million, after previously reporting it to be at least $100 million. If the latest numbers are accurate, the film’s cost would fall short of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s estimated budget of $200 million. The Fate of the Furious stands as the most expensive movie of 2017, checking in at $250 million.
Gosling said in an earlier interview that “you could see where the money was going” while he was on the Blade Runner 2049 set. Villeneuve’s crew eschewed CGI as much as they could in favor of building real sets and creating as convincing a world as possible. Actress Ana de Armas remarked that the cast “had nothing to imagine” due to the complete lack of green screens. You can certainly see where the budget went in a new clip where Gosling discovers a huge sweatshop in the middle of a dystopian junkyard.
More reliance on CGI may have allowed Villeneuve to cut budgetary corners, but the use of practical effects and living, breathing sets presented a greater chance to vividly realize the director’s vision. Furthermore, the actors immersed in Blade Runner 2049’s world were gifted a chance to give much better performances than if they were just staring at green screens the whole time. Barring another box office flop akin to the misunderstood original – and assuming that Villeneuve delivers a film that’s as extraordinary as it looks – it’s likely that the sequel’s sub-$200 million budget will allow it to turn at least a reasonably healthy profit.
Still, the early estimates of a $40 million opening weekend suggest that Blade Runner 2049 will have some work to do in order to earn well beyond its budget, especially if the costs sit closer to $185 million. It will need to perform well internationally and also avoid major drop-offs in the weeks that follow in the U.S. The good news is that the anticipation for Blade Runner 2049 has never been higher and the built-in fanbase for the beloved original will surely be hitting theaters come October.
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