"Blade Runner 2049" was initially a 4-hour, two-part release

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Folks, sometimes the stars don't align for a smartly crafted blockbuster. "Blade Runner 2049," despite incredible reviews, is crashing and burning at the Box-Office. You say "but $30+ million opening weekend, that's pretty solid" I say, the budget of the film, depending on who you speak to, was anywhere between $150-$170 Million. Its tally total of $82M so far just doesn't cut it. Despite the A- CinemaScore grade, and the 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes but what we're looking at right now is a risk that didn't pay off. A $150M art-house sequel to a cult film with a running time stretching close to the three-hour mark. How did we not expect this?

Despite all that, "Blade Runner 2049" is Denis Villeneuve gaining confidence in his ability to let a narrative breathe and daring his audience to follow him along a deeply steeped, tip-toeing narrative. Just like its 1982 predecessor, the film delves into the unexplained, in a millennial-filled zeitgeist expecting explanations that's nothing short of risky.  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 up for interpretation and debate. 

The film's editor Joe Walker, imagine the task of editing this film, recently spoke to Provideo Coaliton, the juiciest tidbit for me was the fact that Villeneuve initially had a four hour cut of "2049." Even more intriguing was Walker having to divide the movie into two parts. He even says the thought of releasing both halves separately crossed through both his and Villeneuve's mind:

"That break revealed something about the story – it’s in two halves. There’s K discovering his true past as he sees it and at the halfway mark he kind of loses his virginity (laughs). The next morning, it’s a different story, about meeting your maker and ultimately sacrifice – “dying is the most human thing we do.” Oddly enough both halves start with eyes opening. There’s the giant eye opening at the beginning of the film and the second when Mariette wakes up and sneaks around K’s apartment. We toyed with giving titles to each half but quickly dropped that. But what does remain is that there’s something of a waking dream about the film. That’s a very deliberate choice in terms of visuals but also the kind of pace they were striving for on set and the hallucinatory feel in the cut – it’s the kind of dream where you tread inexorably closer to the truth."

Villeneuve said from the beginning that the studio had the final say on the released cut of the film, but, just to be clear, he no doubt was in full creative-control and working in collaboration with everyone, and has mentioned that he released the envisioned cut that he wanted of the film. Whether or not his intention for a 4-hour cut was vetoed by the WB is up for debate but it would have, financially, been even more of a disaster for the studio.