Although essential praise and positive tracking, Warner Bros./Alcon/Columbia’s “Blade Runner 2049” has failed hard at the box office, grossing just $31.5 million in its opening weekend from 4,058 screens against a reported budget of $150 million.
It is a difficult fall for the Denis Villeneuve was directed sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi noir. Before the weekend, the most conservative tracking estimations had this movie matching the $45 million starting earned in 2015 through “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Rather, “2049” is falling short even of the “$36.1 million made earlier this year by Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” which tanked in next weeks after all the hardcore “Alien” lovers saw the movie on opening night.
Now signs are already pointing to “2049” suffering a similar fate. After making $12.7 million on Friday, along with $4 million from Thursday previews, revenue fell 11 percent on Saturday to $11.4 million. “Blade Runner 2049” is proving to be a completely front-loaded movie, as the original’s cult fanbase packed early screenings even as mainstream audiences were slow to buy tickets.
This in part explains the discrepancy between the movie’s A- grade on CinemaScore and the lack of word-of-mouth we have seen among mainstream audiences. The CinemaScore demographic analysis was 71 percent male and 86 percent above the age of 25, with 63 percent over the age of 35. For a generation of hardcore movie buffs — typically male — who remember seeing the original “Blade Runner” in theaters, “2049” was an event release. However, for other demos, this movie does not seem to have struck a chord, despite Ryan Gosling in his first wide release since “La La Land.”
This weekend’s other new releases also performed under pre-weekend expectations. Fox/Chernin’s “The Mountain Between Us” took 2nd place this weekend with $10.1 million from 3,068 screens towards a $35 million budget and pre-weekend projections of $11-13 million. Lionsgate’s “My Little Pony: The film” came in fourth with $8.8 million from 2,528 screens against projections of $10 million. Both movies had an A- on CinemaScore, however “MLP” had a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 57 percent while “Mountain” had a 46 percent rating.