Coming in first is always the goal for a new release but sometimes winning is not enough. Sony’s Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to Ridley Scott’s historic 1982 Sci-Fi masterpiece, opened at home this weekend to an unspectacular $31.5 million. This weekend’s box office champ, which cost $150 million gross to produce, is directed by Sicario helmsman Denis Villeneuve.
It has a top tier cast of Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, and of course Harrison Ford, reprising his role as the android hunter Rick Deckard. Critic’s reviews have tended towards positive for this film and it earned a respectable A- Cinemascore. It did, however, fail to leave a mark with younger viewers, the future of what could be a franchise, being attended by a crowd that was fully 76 percent over 25s and 71 percent male. Many under twenty-fives found it unapproachable and even tedious with its 163 minute runtime. As such, BR 2049’s overall grade so far with America’s millennials is a middling B grade.
While it’s US launch has been worrisome, Blade Runner still has a chance to recoup its investment from overseas sales. It opened to $50.2 million in 63 markets, led by the UK with $8 million. Next came Russia at $4.9 million then Australia and France at $3.6 million, followed by $3.3 million from Spain and $2.5 million in Italy. 2049 has so far moved into only 64% of its scheduled markets and has a China opening set for November 10. Sony is also pushing for a big landing in Japan, the country which much of the film’s aesthetic is based on, including a Tokyo premier to be attended by Ford, Villeneuve, and actress Anna de Armas before it’s October 27th opening.
Still overseas, Chinese hit comedy Never Say Die came in third on the combined chart with $66 million from its second weekend in theatres, taking the film’s cume to $221 million. This low budget comedy comes from Happy Mahua Pictures, a studio that with just three movies to its name has already produced two of the top five best selling Chinese comedies in history.
Going back to the US we have two other major new releases: Fox’s The Mountain Between Us and Lionsgate’s The My Little Pony Movie. Fox’s offering, which stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as a pair of strangers who survive a single engine plane crash in the Rocky Mountains, opened to $10.1 million. Lionsgate’s Pony animated film based on the early hit 2010’s cartoon series that delighted young children and won a worrying amount of rabid adult fans, started its domestic run in fourth place with $8.8 million. Overseas The Mountain made $3.6 million while MLP made $3.8 million.
Finally, and at opposite ends of the economic spectrum, indie awards hopeful The Florida Project made a very strong $152,622 from four theatres, while horror behemoth It crossed $600 million global.
Next weekend we’ll see Justice Thurgood Marshall biopic Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman, and Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan action flic The Foreigner.