It has been talked about for a long time — and its arrival has been a long time in the making. The sequel to Blade Runner has been talked about and worked over for quite some time. It was 35 years since the original was made, and grew into becoming a classic piece of sci-fi history. To make a sequel today would have to clear numerous hurdles, and win over a new audience at the same time.
In an attempt at counter-programming an animated romp for kids and an outdoor survival thriller were competing for ticket attention, hoping to shake up the top-10 and see if studios could continue the record-breaking revenue stream that the month September enjoyed.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – $31.52Million
This has to be looked at as an utter collapse. A massive budget of $150 million, and the third widest release of all time (4,058 theaters) was expected to deliver something impressive – instead it appears to be slated to lead to disappointing business. That was the case with the original in 1982 as well, so possibly thiss follow up can also achieve cult status. The Thursday previews were strong, indicating an opening over $50million would be seen. Then Friday turned tepid, and by Saturday the title actually saw a drop, as it took in -11% less revenue, despite more viewings. So what happened?
For starters, this early jolt indicates interest was strictly with fans of the original and drew in few new eyes. The R-rating also hurt by limiting the youth audience. Then there is the running time; being over two and half hours truncates the amount of screenings. Overall you had a massive tent-pole that targeted to only one segment of the market, when broad appeal was desperately needed. The reviews have been good, and audience exit polls were strong, but there will not be enough long term interest to float this to profitability.
2. THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US – $10.1m
Idris Elba and Kate Winslet bring strong acting chops to what appears a rather pedestrian outdoor survivor’s tale. Their appearance could be seen as a possible Oscar dangle, but overall there was not much of a demand for this one. May be worth watching to see if it lasts long enough to garner sustained interest through the month.
3. IT – $9.65m
Ever present and not going away it says everything that after 5 weeks it is still challenging many new releases.
4. MY LITTLE PONY – $8.8m
Rather dismal return for this long established property that appealed to the younger female audience – and those disturbing Bronies, of course. Lionsgate did not invest a ton in this, and didn’t have to. It will find its audience and may yet get enough revenue to be worth its while
5. KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE – $8.1m
Holding up respectably in a field crowded with quality. It has taken in $80million domestic, and an impressive global take of now over $200million. Remains to be seen if this will be enough for Fox to continue the series, but prospects are good – just might need to keep a leash on the budget of any future efforts.
6. AMERICAN MADE – $8.07m
While looking at a decent hold in week #2 with a -52% drop that was following a rather soft open last week, so really not much to cheer about for Universal. You expect Tom Cruise to do you better than a $30million haul after two weekends.
7. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE – $6.75m
While not expected to be in the same orbit as the previous LEGO-based films this one is operating a few strata below those. The biggest challenge: why endeavor to go to theaters to see a product the kids can watch on Cartoon Network?
8. VICTORIA & ABDUL – $4.14m
This is an arthouse offering from Focus Features that is expanding into 750 theaters this week. Judi Dench is already expected to be a fixture at the Oscars for her portrayal of Queen Victoria here.
9. FLATLINERS – $3.8m
Usually a hold of -42% is considered strong, but when it has such a disastrous opening there is no bragging to be had. The movie has barely gotten past $12million to this point.
10. BATTLE OF THE SEXES – $2.4m
Meanwhile a very respectable second week for this modest release. Dipping just -29% in a limited run there is hope this will generate some awards interest and extend prospects in the future.