The original Blade Runner became a cult classic over the years but many people have forgotten that, much like its 2017 sequel, it flopped at the box office. The 1982 original cost $28 million to make and only took in $6 million on its opening weekend.
History has repeated itself this year as Blade Runner 2049 only took in $31.5 million on its opening weekend, despite costing a whopping $150 million to make. The sequel had a great creative team behind it, with Arrival director Denis Villeneuve at the helm, and a superb cast including the original Blade Runner himself Harrison Ford as well as newcomer Ryan Gosling.
So, what went wrong? Let’s find out as I give you five reasons Blade Runner 2049 flopped…
1: Time gap between original Blade Runner movie and sequel
Despite a little paragraph at the beginning of the new one that explains a little about replicants etc. You must watch the original to understand this one. While there are many people who have seen the cult classic there were lots of people who needed a refresher. With multiple cuts of the original, that all clock in at around 2 hours or so each, you will have to do a lot of homework to prepare yourself for 163 minutes of new Blade Runner material. Were people willing to do that?
2: It was still getting attention
The Stephen King adaptation was released just under a month before Blade Runner but was still taking in a lot of money. The creepy-clown film has taken in around $603.7 million and has become the highest grossing horror movie of all time. It seems, for those people who occasionally visit the cinema only once or twice a month, would rather catch the movie everyone was talking about. Maybe if Blade Runner was released a bit earlier it may have done better but its seems It stole its thunder.
3: There wasn’t much appeal for females
Despite Ryan Gosling being nice to look at, there wasn’t much in the films marketing that made it an appealing option for women. The film doesn’t feature many women, with the exception of Robin Wright’s hard-ass lieutenant and Slyvia Hoeks cold, ruthless bad-ass, the rest of the female cast are reduced to virtual prostitute and actual prostitute. The film is mainly about Gosling and Ford, Gosling interacting with an enormous, nude holographic woman was a big marketing image, it pretty much sent a message that said it was very much a guys movie.
4: It was too long
Clocking in at two hours and 43 minutes, watching Blade Runner 2049 takes up a considerable amount of an evening at the cinema. With the likes of Kingsman and It posting a run time of just over two hours, making them a more enticing option. For casual Saturday night viewing, people are less likely to want to spend nearly three hours in a cinema. Even Christopher Nolan, known for his long flicks, managed to condense his war-epic Dunkirk down to 90 minutes. Some people may have been curious to see a Blade Runner sequel 35 years later, but it’s an easier option to just wait for the DVD.
5: Poor marketing
Alcon Entertainment didn’t allow reviewers to detail plot points or character information in the write-ups. This meant that critics were unable to tell people what the film was even about, meaning there marketing campaign was basically it’s a Blade Runner sequel with Ford and Gosling, and they thought that was enough to get butts in seats. For a film like Star Wars, spoiler-free marketing is ideal as audiences are already heavily interested in seeing a new one, but for a sequel coming out 35 years after its predecessor, more information was needed.