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Box Office: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Sprinting to $45 Million Opening Weekend

Blade Runner 2049” is heading for a respectable $45 million opening weekend at 4,058 North American sites, early estimates showed on Friday.

The projection for the sci-fi sequel is in line with recent forecasts of between $45 million and $50 million — 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 for “Blade Runner 2049” was strong, with 55% of moviegoers rating the film “excellent” and another 30% calling it “very good,” according to comScore’s PostTrak.

“The impressive initial box office returns coupled with the positive critical consensus and most importantly, early raves by moviegoers, portend long-term playability for the film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

Blade Runner 2049’s” lengthy 163-minute run time holds down the number of showings each day.

Two other new films — Fox’s survival drama “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, and Lionsgate’s animated “My Little Pony” — were both heading for modest debuts in the $8 million to $10 million range.

Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment. The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, carries a $150 million price tag. It’s set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2049, with Gosling starring as an LAPD officer tracking down illegal replicants. 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, but grew in stature and influence over the years.

The Mountain Between Us” appears to be under-performing slightly at 3,088 venues. Based on the Charles Martin novel, the film stars Elba as a surgeon and Winslet as a journalist left stranded following a plane crash. Reviews have been mixed, earning the film a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

My Little Pony,” based on the Hasbro toys, is launching at 2,528 locations with modest projections in the $8 million to $9 million range, with some Friday estimates as high as $13 million. 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 totaled $708.9 million domestically, according to data from ComScore. “It” took in the lion’s share with $290.8 million. The fifth weekend of New Line’s blockbuster may contend for second place with about $8 million at 3,197 sites. It will close the weekend with more than $300 million.

ComScore reported that year-to-date grosses as of Oct. 4 had hit $8.23 billion, down 5% from the year-ago figure — which had been off 6.5% before “It” opened.

The second weekend of Tom Cruise’s “American Made” and the third frames of “The Lego Ninjago Movie” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” were also heading for about $8 million each.

The October record for best domestic opening weekend was set four years ago by “Gravity” with $55.8 million, followed by 2015’s “The Martian” with $54.3 million.

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