Box Office Week: Blade Runner 2049 opens at #1 to a very disappointing $31.5M on a budget of $150M.

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Folks, sometimes the stars don't align for a smartly crafted blockbuster. "Blade Runner 2049," despite incredible reviews, crashed and burned at the weekend movie Box-Office. A $31.5M opening was not enough given the budget of the film, depending on who you speak to, was anywhere between $150-$170 Million. The film is on pace to not even make half that amount back domestically. It might break even We will see what will happen next weekend, maybe solid word of mouth and repeat viewings will give it some kind of staying power, it did garner an A- CinemaScore grade, but what we're looking at right now is a risk that didn't pay off for Warner Brothers. A $150M arthouse sequel to a cult film with a running time stretching close to the three-hour mark. How did we not expect this?"

1. “Blade Runner 2049” — $31.5 million
2. “The Mountain Between Us” — $10.1 million
3. “It” — $9.6 million ($304 mil.)
4. “My Little Pony: The Movie” — $8.8 million
5. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” — $8.1 million ($79.9 mil.)
6. “American Made” — $8 million ($30.4 mil.)
7. “The Lego Ninjago Movie” — $6.7 million ($43.8 mil.)
8. “Victoria and Abdul” — $4.1 million ($5.9 mil)
9. “Flatliners” — $3.8 million ($12.3 mil.)
10. “Battle Of The Sexes” — $2.4 million ($7.6 mil.)




Here's what I wrote about the movie last week:

"Blade Runner" is a peculiar film. It doesn't necessarily have much of a thick, narratively-driven story as much as it has themes, characters, resonant-filled subtleties which cannot necessarily be summoned in a single viewing. It's all about atmosphere, but within that atmosphere is meaty substance. That's why it was greeted with indifference back in 1982 and only became a classic in the ensuing years. The main question the movie asks, about humanity and our worth, deserves the warranted, heated discussions it has attained over the last 30 years. It all revolves around if Harrison Ford's character Deckard, the blade runner of the title, is a droid or a human? Does it even matter? The latter is something its director Ridley Scott seemed to be hinting at, as droids, much like humans, wanted the same freedoms we take for granted: To feel, ache, rejoice, hurt, love etc.

And so, the mighty Scott has passed the torch for the followup to ever esteemable Denis Villeneuve, a filmmaker that has no doubt proven his big-studio worth these last 5 years with flawed but technically, and professionally, impressive work such as "Prisoners," "Sicario" and "Arrival." Films that have garnered immense fanbases and have catapulted the Quebecois director to the ranks of Hollywood directing heaven with the likes of Nolan, Spielberg, Scorsese, or at least now he has with "Blade Runner 2049" which feels like icing on the cake, further proof that he is the real deal that I've been touting about since his 2011 French Canadian masterpiece "Incendies" make the film festival rounds.

None of his American films have managed to capture the bloody, brutal brilliance of "Incendies," but, by golly, is this man on his way to that peak again, slowly learning the tricks of the trade to fully master his own auteur voice in a studio system lacking in, well, distinct and unique voices.

"Blade Runner 2049" is Villeneuve gaining confidence in his ability to let a narrative breathe and have the confidence of the audience member to follow him along a deeply steeped, tip-toeing and risky narrative. It's 153-minute length, not counting the 11-minute credits, will surely be an endurance test for many because, well, just like the 1982 predecessor, nothing really happens, but everything does as well. It's a film front-loaded with cinematographer Roger Deakins' beautifully lit frames, but beneath those frames lie secrets that will no doubt become more visible with repeat viewings, or at least that's what I hope because after a single viewing of "Blade Runner 2049" I can honestly say a lot of questions are still left unanswered.

The film, set thirty years after the original, has a quiet brooding lead character in Ryan Gosling's Officer K, who is a blade runner himself, seeking defacto droids that pose as humans. Just like Ford's Deckard, he's the best at what he does. Trouble comes in the form of an uncovered secret that could open a whole can of worms for the totalitarian government of the new world, which leads K on a quest to find Deckard, who's been missing for more than thirty years. It implicates K and a childhood memory that was implanted in his subconscious when he was created or did it actually happen?

That plot description is only a thin guide to a vast and ambitious effort from Villeneuve, who had a publicist read a note he wrote before the screening of the film began asking critics to not divulge crucial plot points of the film in their reviews. I will not do that. This imperfect, messy, but energetic film deserves to be seen without any knowledge of the plot. The less you know, the better.

Pacing issues notwithstanding, the main flaw I have with the film is in its final third. Here's the thing about "Blade Runner 2049" the more you discover its secrets, the less intriguing it becomes, for 2 hours and change you are completely surrounded in mystery as to what will be coming next. You do know it all leads to a meeting with Ford's Deckard, thank the trailer for that, but there's a vibe that Villeneuve and Deakins create that's damn near mystical. Villeneuve should have taken a cue from his predecessor and not given us any concrete answers. Nevertheless, the final 15 or so minutes are astounding.

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