Box Office: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Scores $4 Million on Thursday Night

Blade Runner 2049” has opened with a solid $4 million at the North American box office on Thursday night.

The preview number for the sequel, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, was 60% above that of 2015’s “The Martian.” The film earned $800,000 from Imax showings.

Blade Runner 2049” will expand to 4,058 sites on Friday. It’s expected to gross between $45 million and $50 million this weekend. That’s similar to 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which debuted to $45 million on its way to $154 million domestically.

Initial response from Thursday night shows was strong with 55% of moviegoers surveyed rating the film “excellent” and another 30% calling it “very good,” according to comScore’s PostTrak.

Fox’s survival drama “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, took in $400,000 at 2,535 sites during previews.

Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on “Blade Runner 2049” through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment. The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, carries a $150 million price tag and is set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2049. Sony is handling international distribution with most markets opening this weekend.

The original “Blade Runner,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Ford, was not a box office success when it launched to $32.9 million in 1982. The neo-noir film, centered on Ford’s Rick Deckard tracking down escaped replicants, grew in stature over the years. In 1993, “Blade Runner” was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

MovieTickets.com reported this week that advance ticket sales for “Blade Runner 2049” are six times that of Villeneuve’s last film, “Arrival,” which opened with a $24 million, and double those of 2015’s “The Martian,” which debuted with $54.3 million. The film has received strong critical support, with a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Expectations are moderate for “The Mountain Between Us,” which is set to take in between $11 million and $13 million at 3,088 venues. “Mountain,” based on the Charles Martin novel, stars Elba as a surgeon and Winslet as a journalist who are left stranded following a plane crash. Reviews have been mixed, earning the film a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate’s animated fantasy “My Little Pony,” based on the Hasbro toys, took in $290,000 from Thursday night previews at more than 1,800 North American locations. It’s launching at 2,528 locations with modest projections in the $8 million to $9 million range. The movie’s voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Uzo Aduba, and Sia.

The overall film business has been energized by a record September box office, which raked in $708.9 million domestically, according to data from ComScore. “It” finished the month shattering the record for top September performer with $290.8 million. New Line’s blockbuster  grossed $1 million on Thursday at 3,197 sites to lift its four-week domestic total $295.3 million.