It was an open question as to how BLADE RUNNER 2049 would do. Arriving 35 years after its groundbreaking forerunner, could the $150 million sequel capture the public imagination in the way that Ridley Scott’s original has become one of the most celebrated science fiction movies ever made? There was plenty of buzz and critics were largely favourable, but the film failed to entice the youth market necessary to make such expensive productions successful these days. The vast majority of ticket buyers were well over the 19-25-year-old age bracket, and the movie fell well short of the general prediction of a $50 million opening weekend.
Final totals for BLADE RUNNER 2049’s three-day (plus Thursday previews) frame come in at $32.8 million. Warner Bros. is handling the film in the United States and Canada, while Sony has it in the rest of the world. The latter company opened it in over 60% of its future territories at the same time as the North American bow, enjoying better results with $49.2 million. Still, the film will need to perform very well in remaining territories, such as Japan and China, to be profitable. It is unlikely that a third film will result, though the first BLADE RUNNER underperformed back in 1982 before building a huge cult following, so it is premature to say that this one had little impact.
In other news, the 20th Century Fox drama THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US had a modest debut with $10.6 million. Warner’s horror juggernaut IT continued to perform well, finishing third and crossing the $300 million domestic box office mark.
The specialty market enjoyed a particularly notable debut with A24’s THE FLORIDA PROJECT. Premiering on four screens in New York and Los Angeles, the indie grossed a towering $158,000, an average of $39,000 per screen and far above anything else out there this week. A24 will gradually roll the movie out wider in the coming weeks.