Blade Runner sequel off to slow start

Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling, topped the US box office, but takings were below estimates.
Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling, topped the US box office, but takings were below estimates.PHOTO: WARNER BROS PICTURES

LOS ANGELES • Blade Runner 2049 did not quite cut it at the box office despite good reviews from critics - but analysts expect the sci-fi movie to have legs and to continue chasing revenue in the weeks to come.

It did not have a great, explosive spurt from the starting line - garnering only US$31.5 million (S$43 million) on the opening weekend in North America.

It fell short of expectations, which had been in the US$45 million to US$50 million range amid strong advance ticket sales and the revered status of 1982's original Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott.

The key factors for the underperformance were the movie's 163-minute running time - which limits the number of showings each day - plus far less traction among younger moviegoers than anticipated.

"The core of enthusiastic and loyal Blade Runner fans were over 25 and predominantly male and propelled the film as expected to the top spot, but a lengthy running time and less interest among females made it tougher for the film to reach the original weekend box-office projections," said Mr Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. "It's an intellectually charged sci-fi movie and that limited its appeal too."

Starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford and laden with special effects, the film carries a US$150 million price tag.

But while it may have stumbled from the launch pad, those close to the film expect that in the coming weeks, it will draw in fans at home and overseas. Critics think it has a chance of winning at the Oscars, which would keep the movie in theatres for a longer period. 

Survival drama The Mountain Between Us, starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, was the weekend's runner-up, coming in slightly below projections with a moderate US$10.1 million.

Based on the Charles Martin novel, the film - which has had mixed reviews - stars Elba as a surgeon and Winslet as a journalist who are left stranded together following a plane crash.

The animated My Little Pony trotted in with a modest US$8.8 million, slightly above forecasts. Based on the Hasbro toys and television series, the movie's voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Uzo Aduba and singer Sia.

Meanwhile, horror movie It showed plenty of staying power to claim third place with US$9.6 million.

It will close the weekend with a domestic tally of US$305 million so far, plus US$298.8 million internationally, to top the US$600 million worldwide mark.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2017, with the headline 'Blade Runner sequel off to slow start'. Print Edition | Subscribe