‘Blade Runner 2049’: Critics and Fans Propel Film to No. 1, but Ticket Sales Still Disappoint
Warner Bros.‘ “Blade Runner 2049” topped the box office charts this weekend, but despite strong reviews and positive audience reaction, ticket sales were estimated at only $31.5 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to the measurement firm ComScore, significantly below analysts’ projections.
A sequel to Ridley Scott‘s 1982 sci-fi cult classic, “Blade Runner,” about a futuristic society where androids known as “replicants” are almost indistinguishable from humans, “Blade Runner 2049” had been estimated to pull in $45 million to $50 million in its opening weekend. The film — directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard — cost an estimated $150 million to produce after rebates and before marketing costs.
The film earned an 89% “fresh” rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote, “this film puts you firmly, brilliantly, unassailably in another world.” The film received an A-minus grade from audiences surveyed by CinemaScore.
“It’s great to be the No. 1 movie in the marketplace,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at the studio. “It’s an extraordinary film that Denis Villeneuve has to get a tremendous credit for.”
Despite the positive reception, “Blade Runner 2049” debuted below comparable fall-season sci-fi titles such as “Gravity,” “The Martian” and “Interstellar,” and below the franchise revival “Mad Max: Fury Road,” all of which opened in years past with more than $45 million.
“Blade Runner 2024” audiences were mostly men 35 and older, despite the push to attract women through the casting of Ford, Gosling and Leto.
2049 was produced by Alcon Entertainment and released by Warner Bros. domestically, with Sony handling international distribution. The film looks to add an estimated $50.2 million from overseas markets this weekend.
The original Blade Runner, released in 1982, was not embraced by critics or audiences at first. But appreciation for the cerebral, slow-burning, and visually striking film — which starred Ford as a jaded cop hunting down androids in dystopian Los Angeles — has grown over the years, and it has become enormously influential across pop culture. Time will tell whether 2049 can find more immediate success.