Blade Runner 2049 is opening at the box office this weekend, but does the future look bright?
The long-awaited sequel looks to earn between $45 million and $50 million when it launches in more than 4,000 locations in North America. That would not be a huge number for a film that cost at least $150 million to make, but the estimates are drawing comparisons to 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which opened to $45 million on its way to earning $378.8 million worldwide. A similar run would please the investors. Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on the movie, which is co-financed by Alcon Entertainment, while Sony is launching it overseas.
While the original Blade Runner has achieved cult classic status, it was far from a cash cow when it opened in 1982 to $6.2 million, behind the third weekend of E.T. By the end of its run, Ridley Scott’s dystopian sci-fi flick collected $32.9 million from theaters.
This time around, Denis Villeneuve is at the helm. The year, as the title indicates, is 2049, and the world is full of bioengineered humans called Replicants. A blade runner for the LAPD named Officer K (Ryan Gosling) discovers a shocking secret, and launches into a journey to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for the last three decades. Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have screenplay credits.
There are several factors that indicate Blade Runner is looking at a solid run. For one, MovieTickets.com reports that advance ticket sales are six times that of Villeneuve’s last film, Arrival ($24 million opening weekend), and double 2015’s The Martian ($54.3 million). The film also earned raves from critics, which equated to a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Potentially working against the movie is its runtime, which clocks in at 183 minutes and limits the number of screenings per day.
Blade Runner looks to be the biggest opening this weekend by far, compared with the other two fresh wide releases, The Mountain Between Us and My Little Pony. The former stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a surgeon and a journalist who are stranded on the side of a mountain following a plane crash. The Fox and Chernin release is eyeing an $11 million to $13 million opening from 3,000 locations. The latter, Lionsgate’s big screen adventure based on the Hasbro toy, is expected to make about the same as Mountain from 2,500 locations. The animated film features a large voice cast that includes Uzo Aduba, Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sia.
All the films are opening following a record September box office, led by It, which raked in $708.9 million domestically, according to data from ComScore. It finished the month shattering the record for top September performer with $290.8 million, ahead of 1986’s Crocodile Dundee ($174.7 million). Following a dreary summer of moviegoing, the year to date box office was 6.5 percent lower than 2016 on Labor Day Monday. As of Oct. 1, that deficit had narrowed to 4.7 percent behind.
Watch: Harrison Ford explains why he returned for Blade Runner sequel:
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