After 35 years the wait is finally over, Harrison Ford reprises another of his iconic roles in the highly-anticipated Blade Runner 2049. While the exact numbers won’t be clearer until Monday morning, Box Office Mojo is forecasting an opening weekend somewhere between $31-35 million. Earlier in the week, an opening weekend closer to $50 million was predicted, but that was swiftly lowered once Friday’s numbers rolled in.
Considering the original Blade Runner didn’t make much of an impact at the box office back in 1982, you might be wondering why there is enormous pressure on 2049 to perform, well I’ll you. The estimated production budget of $155 million (rumoured to be as high as $175 million) means a break-even milestone of $400 million is required. As a general rule, Hollywood doesn’t like to just break even on a major tentpole release, but they hate losing money even more.
Should the Box Office Mojo prediction be accurate, Blade Runner 2049 would have come in lower that Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant’s $36 million opening weekend earlier this year. Covenant wound up with a domestic haul of just $74 million and a global total of $238 million, could Blade Runner 2049 suffer a similar fate?
It is far too early to start battering around terms like flop, misfire, or a dud, it’s week one, and Blade Runner 2049 was always going to be a bit of a hard sell. On the plus side, the critical praise for Denis Villeneuve’s film is universal in its acclaim, so there’s every chance that word of mouth and a strong international run could save the day. However, (you knew there was a however coming) regardless of critical response, Blade Runner 2049 is on a wide release and clocks in at a box office unfriendly 163 minutes. That means there are fewer screenings available in a day, and if the current showings aren’t packing them in, the cinemas will give that screen to a movie that does.
We’ll have to wait and see how the film plays globally, but it is disappointing that a movie so well received is struggling to find an audience to justify its budget.
Don’t forget to watch the Blade Runner 2049 Online Short Films before you see the movie, you can watch them all below including the stunning 15 minute Anime.