'Blade Runner 2049' wins the weekend box office but shockingly underperforms

Blade Runner 2049 Warner BrosWarner Bros.‘Blade Runner 2049.’

Despite an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which included some critics saying it surpassed its legendary original in every aspect, “Blade Runner 2049” was not the moneymaker its studio, Warner Bros, or the industry had anticipated.

Though the movie easily won the domestic weekend box office with an estimated $US31.5 million take, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s a disappointing figure for a blockbuster that was on over 4,000 screens and a budget of $US150 million (add another $US100 million or so for the marketing).

Industry estimates going into the weekend had the movie earning around $US43 million – $US45 million after it started with a solid $US12.6 million Friday (including $US4 million from Thursday previews).

A major factor contributing to its underperformance looks to be the demographic. Young people go to a movie’s opening weekend, but with “2049” having an R rating and a running time of over two-and-a-half-hours it wasn’t a hot ticket, it seems. According to CinemaScore, only 14% of people in their exit polls were under 25. The movie’s main audience, who grew up on the 1982 Ridley Scott futuristic noir starring Harrison Ford (who returns on “2049” opposite Ryan Gosling), the over-30 crowd, typically wait out the opening weekend crowds.

Not to say the movie will suddenly have a second life at the box office. What’s more realistic is Warner Bros. has a well-executed sci-fi movie with a dazzling look that will become as much of a cult hit as the original movie was.

But it’s not all bad for the studio. WB’s other movie in theatres, “It,” is a sensation as it’s now taking in over $US600 million worldwide (made for only $US35 million).

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