Blade Runner 2049 officially lost its top spot at the box office to surprise horror hit Happy Death Day. Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited follow-up to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner did not disappoint with critics and has inspired numerous debates about its themes and hidden meanings, but its success on a cinematic level has not translated to big box office numbers. Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day, meanwhile, arrived just in time for horror-hungry moviegoers at Halloween season amid solid reviews in its own right.
Having already failed to reach its box office expectations in its underwhelming opening weekend, Blade Runner 2049 had a legitimate competition on its hands with Happy Death Day in its second go-around. The weekend numbers are in, and it’s clear what the majority of theatergoers were looking for on Friday the 13th and beyond.
As reported by Variety on Sunday, Happy Death Day took the box office crown with a $26.5 million opening weekend from 3,149 locations. Blade Runner 2049 settled for second place, dropping 54.1 percent from its opening to just $15.1 million in weekend No. 2. The Jackie Chan-starring thriller The Foreigner took third place with $12.8 million from 2,515 locations. IT continues to hold strong with $6 million in fourth place, while The Mountain Between Us rounded out the top-5 with $5.7 million.
Happy Death Day, which follows a college student (Jessica Rothe) trapped in the mystery of her birthday murder as she re-lives the day over and over, beat out its previous projections of $20 million. The film looks like another big win for the economical Blumhouse Pictures, who scored major box office successes earlier in 2017 with Split ($278 million worldwide on a $9 million budget) and Get Out ($253 million on a $4.5 million budget). Happy Death Day reportedly cost only about $4.8 million to make. Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, cost upwards of $150 million with others reporting a budget closer to $185 million, leaving the sci-fi sequel in on track to be a major flop.
The weekend box office totals present two wildly different stories with the top-2 films. Promotion of Happy Death Day’s murderous spin on the Groundhog Day premise clearly resonated with moviegoers and the film became the latest success story of a big year for the horror genre. Blade Runner 2049, however, appears destined to fail, barring a massive run in China where it premieres on Oct. 27. Warner Bros.’ decision to give Villeneuve creative control over the sequel didn’t hurt the film itself, but it led to an unusually large budget and the film was ultimately hurt by its own secretive marketing campaign.
Of course, this isn’t too surprising. The original Blade Runner was itself a commercial disappointment that only became a cult classic in the decade after initial release; the franchise just doesn’t have a big-enough audience to turn a profit on such a large budget. The hope is that studios are not hesitant to make more films like 2049 in the future. What’s certain, though, is that they will want to make more like Happy Death Day.
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