“Blade Runner 2049” has moved its release date in China forward by two weeks to Oct. 27 from the previously announced Nov. 10.
Sony opened the science-fiction sequel in most international markets last weekend, generating $50.2 million in 63 territories with first place finishes in 45 markets. The studio said that “Blade Runner 2049” was positioned for a strong run throughout the fall season, citing positive upticks during the weekend, stellar reviews, and “excellent” audience reception.
The studio is launching the film, starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, in its last three major markets in the next three weeks — South Korea on Oct. 12, and Japan and now China on Oct. 27. The move was announced Wednesday.
The international performance is key to making “Blade Runner 2049” profitable for Alcon Entertainment and Sony, as they financed the movie, which carries a $150 million price tag. Denis Villeneuve helms the sequel, which is set in a bleak 2049 Los Angeles. Gosling stars as an LAPD officer dealing with replicants seeking freedom.
Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on “Blade Runner 2049,” through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment. The film led the North American box office with $32.8 million in its opening weekend, but that number was well below forecasts. It took in $4.5 million on Monday and $3.6 million on Tuesday for a five-day total of $40.8 million.
Expectations were high in North America due to stellar reviews, strong advance ticket sales, the star power of Gosling and Ford and the iconic status of 1982’s original “Blade Runner.” Instead, the movie’s earnings fell short due to a lengthy 163-minute running time and less traction than expected among younger moviegoers.
The original movie was not a box office success with a total of $32 million in domestic box office while foreign performance was not reported. The news about the change in the China date was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.