‘Blade Runner 2049’ took the #1 spot this weekend, with $31.5 million. This marks the best opening for director Denis Villeneuve as well as star Ryan Gosling. The film has gotten great reviews from critics with an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and average filmgoers who gave it an A- CinemaScore.
Unfortunately, there weren’t as many filmgoers as projected. ‘2049’ was expected to open in the $45-50M range but for some reason, it fell short of that and at this point, it doesn’t look as though it will make back its $155M+ budget.
Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein said, “The audience for it was narrower than we anticipated.” Audiences are largely male and over 25. It appears that the sequel’s marketing only drew fans of the original 1982 Ridley Scott film. For those unfamiliar, the marketing was too cryptic. It appears that Alcon Entertainment was so concerned with not giving away spoilers that they didn’t reveal enough to lure prospective viewers.
Also working against it, the film clocks in at a whopping two hours and forty-five minutes, which doesn’t allow theaters to screen the movie as frequently as shorter films. It also appears that despite the positive reviews, the film itself is too slow to draw in novices. Those under 25 are giving ‘2049’ a ranking of B-, much lower than the average, which translates to the film dragging and not appealing to younger viewers the way ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ did.
One rival studio executive declared:
“You can’t blame this on the run time. There have been a number of two and half-hour-plus movies that have done business. To the lay moviegoer, this was an obscure IP and the marketing campaign never told a story whatsoever. I still don’t know what this movie is about. Replicant? WTF is a replicant? The marketing campaign assumed the entire audience was in on the property.”
Things could still turn around for ‘Blade Runner 2049’. The older audience are not the type to flock to theaters on the opening weekend. And the positive reactions from both critics and moviegoers could draw more viewers over time. There is even awards buzz swirling, which could also boost the film.
Here is the Top Five:
- Blade Runner 2049 (Alcon Entertainment/Warner Brothers/Sony) – $31.5M
- The Mountain Between Us (20th Century Fox) – $10.1M
- It (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $9.65M
- My Little Pony (Lionsgate) – $8.8M
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) – $8.1M
The Idris Elba/Kate Winslet drama ‘The Mountain Between Us’ came in at #2 by serving as counter-programming to ‘Blade Runner’ drawing a larger female audience and proving a draw in Southern and rural areas.
‘My Little Pony’ underperformed for the same reason as ‘LEGO Ninjago’— why pay money for something you can get for free at home?
One last thing that may help ‘Blade Runner 2049’ out is the fact that October is light on releases, so there won’t be much competition. The biggest film opening next weekend is biopic ‘Marshall’. There’s also ‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ about the life of William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman and the Jackie Chan film ‘The Foreigner’.
Check back to see how things go next week.