Box Office: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Dominates but Falls Short of Forecasts

Blade Runner 2049
Courtesy of Alcon Entertainment

Blade Runner 2049” is dominating the domestic box office, but coming in under forecasts with a $36 million opening weekend at 4,058 North American sites, estimates showed Saturday.

The sci-fi sequel had been pegged this week to launch between $45 million and $50 million — similar to 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which debuted to $45 million. Reviews are stellar with an 89% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and moviegoers gave “Blade Runner 2049” an A- CinemaScore.

But the film only grossed $12.7 million on Friday, including $4 million from Thursday night previews. The move’s lengthy 163-minute run time cuts down the number of showings each day and may have dampened interest — particularly among younger moviegoers.

Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution on “Blade Runner 2049,” starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, through its output deal with Alcon Entertainment. The follow-up to 1982’s “Blade Runner,” directed by Denis Villeneuve and laden with special effects, carries a $150 million price tag. It’s set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2049, with Gosling starring as an LAPD officer dealing with replicants seeking freedom.

Sony is handling international distribution, with most markets opening this weekend. The studio issued a forecast Friday projecting a launch weekend in the $48 million to $52 million range.

The original “Blade Runner,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Ford, was not a box office success — with a $32.9 million domestic lifetime total — but grew in stature and influence over the years.

Lionsgate’s animated “My Little Pony” was runner-up in its debut weekend with more than $10 million estimated at 2,528 locations, slightly above forecasts. Based on the Hasbro toys and TV series, the movie’s voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Uzo Aduba, and Sia.

Fox’s opening of survival drama “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, is coming in close behind, but somewhat below projections with $10 million at 3,088 venues. Based on the Charles Martin novel, the film stars Elba as a surgeon and Winslet as a journalist who are left stranded together following a plane crash. Reviews have been mixed, earning the film a 46% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The fifth weekend of New Line’s blockbuster “It” may contend for third place with $9.4 million at 3,197 sites. It will close the weekend with more than $300 million.

The second weekend of Tom Cruise’s “American Made” and third frame of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” were also heading for about $8 million each. Warner Animation’s “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” also in its third weekend, is aiming for an estimated $6.5 million. Focus Features’ expansion of historical drama “Victoria & Abdul” was performing respectably with a projected $4.1 million at 655 sites.

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.