UPDATE, Monday 3:46 PM: Alcon Entertainment and Sony’s flying car noir sequel Blade Runner 2049 via Warner Bros looks to come in around $36.7 million over the four-day Columbus Day holiday per industry estimates, still not successful enough for this movie which carries a total global spend of $300M-plus between its budget and P&A.
Back in the day, the original 1982 Blade Runner film didn’t connect with the masses, ultimately making closing to $28M. So it’s logical from a business perspective why there wasn’t a sequel for 35 years –unlike Ridley Scott’s 1979 Alien ($78.9M), which saw a sequel seven years later with Aliens making $85.1M, kicking off a franchise of eight movies. The original Blade Runner was also panned when it was first released; the movie only accumulated prestige over time.
Because Scott went $5M over budget on the original movie (final production cost was $28M), the pic’s rights reverted to Jerry Perenchio and Bud Yorkin, the producers who shelled out the extra cash. Perenchio reportedly was precious about the original movie and wouldn’t allow sequels, but the Yorkins shelled out a reported $5M in the early aughts to take control of the property. In the original deal, Warner Bros had dibs on distributing the pic’s sequels, and that’s when the Yorkins began working with Alcon, who have a deal on the Burbank lot. Alcon took hold of the sequel rights six years and began pushing forward with the sequel.
Blade Runner 2049 marks the third time Alcon has tried to graduate to bigger tentpole films and fell flat, following a 2015 remake of Point Break and Johnny Depp’s 2014 movie Transcendence, both $100M-plus movies before P&A. Alcon is on the hook for their half of the Blade Runner 2049 production cost and global P&A; they’ll be stung the most from this ambitious film. Sony chipped in $90M before rebates and tax credits. Many finance sources tell Deadline that Blade Runner 2049 is not expected to profit after all ancillaries are counted.
The tanking of this Denis Villeneuve-directed, Ridley Scott executive produced sci-fi epic really put a damper in the marketplace: We’re still 4.7% behind the same January 1-October 8 period a year ago with $8.3 billion and will depend on Warner Bros’ Justice League and three Disney movies — Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, Pixar’s Coco and Lucasfilm’s The Last Jedi — in terms of putting us over last year’s $11.4 billion record.
The three-day weekend overall saw a slight boost in business with $106.475M, up 1.4% compared with the same period a year ago. Last year at this time, Amblin/Universal’s The Girl on the Train was the No. 1 pic with $24.5M.
Sunday was better than expected given the Columbus Day holiday today, raising all boats. Today there are 41% of all K-12 schools out with another 8% colleges. But it’s largely a Northeast holiday. Blade Runner 2049 wound up grossing $8.856M to its original WB projection of $7.4M, giving it a 3-day of $32.75M. Today will be down around 55% for a near $4M.
New Line/Warner Bros’ It should gross $11.5M over four days after scoring $2.966M yesterday and $1.6M today, taking its running cume to $306.85M.
20th Century Fox’s The Mountain Between Us posted a $2.875M Sunday, better than the $2.4M the pic was expecting, for a $10.55M opening on the Kate Winslet-Idris Elba movie. Pic should see $11.2M over four days, still poor for this $35M production.
Lionsgate/Hasbro’s My Little Pony is looking at $10.2M over four days. Lionsgate handled P&A on this while Hasbro financed. Audiences didn’t find the need to gallop into the theater to watch Pony because…they can catch it on TV and streaming.
We’re hearing most films are down today in the top 10 with the exception of Warner Bros’ Lego Ninjago, the only pic that’s up over Sunday.
Below are the top 20 actuals for the period of October 6-8 per ComScore:
- Blade Runner 2049, Warner Bros., $32,753,122, 4,058 locations, $8,071 average, $32,753,122, 1 Week.
- The Mountain Between Us, 20th Century Fox, $10,551,336, 3,088 locations, $3,417 average, $10,551,336, 1 Week.
- It, Warner Bros., $9,972,002 (-41%), 3,605 locations, $2,766 average, $305,250,480, 5 Weeks.
- My Little Pony: The Movie, Lionsgate, $8,885,899, 2,528 locations, $3,515 average, $8,885,899, 1 Week.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle, 20th Century Fox, $8,675,412 (-49%), 3,488 locations, $2,487 average, $80,539,837, 3 Weeks.
- American Made, Universal, $8,446,715 (-50%), 3,031 locations, $2,787 average, $30,818,675, 2 Weeks.
- The Lego Ninjago Movie, Warner Bros., $7,002,474 (-40%), 3,611 locations, $1,939 average, $44,076,137, 3 Weeks.
- Victoria And Abdul, Focus Features, $4,171,870 (+282%), 732 locations, $5,699 average, $5,987,264, 3 Weeks.
- Flatliners, Sony, $3,975,021 (-40%), 2,552 locations, $1,558 average, $12,504,623, 2 Weeks.
- Battle Of The Sexes, Fox Searchlight, $2,562,066 (-25%), 1,822 locations, $1,406 average, $7,839,641, 3 Weeks.
- MET Opera: Norma (2017), Fathom Events, $1,500,000, 900 locations, $1,667 average, $1,500,000, 1 Week.
- American Assassin, Lionsgate, $1,388,305 (-58%) 1,656 locations, $838 average, $34,449,582, 4 Weeks.
- Til Death Do Us Part, Novus Content, $762,125 (-51%), 481 locations, $1,584 average, $2,668,754, 2 Weeks.
- The Stray, Quality Flix, $596,547, 640 locations, $932 average, $596,547, 1 Week.
- Home Again, Open Road, $568,000 (-67%), 1,003 locations, $566 average, $26,353,346, 5 Weeks.
- A Question Of Faith, Pure Flix, $453,717 (-56%), 608 locations, $746 average, $1,788,973, 2 Weeks.
- mother!, Paramount, $387,753 (-73%), 481 locations, $806 average, $17,297,289, 4 Weeks.
- Judwaa 2, Fox International Productions, $312,250 (-51%), 192 locations, $1,626 average, $1,184,239, 2 Weeks.
- Despicable Me 3, Universal, $289,605 (-21%), 304 locations, $953 average, $262,637,975, 15 Weeks.
- Stronger, Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions, $277,809 (-70%), 335 locations, $829 average, $3,770,182, 3 Weeks.
UPDATE, Sunday AM writethru after 12:37 AM post: There were rumors on Saturday morning from rivals that Alcon Entertainment/Sony’s Blade Runner 2049 via Warner Bros. was going to drop below $30M for the weekend. Business hasn’t gotten that bad yet, and Saturday night’s ticket sales pointed toward a $31.3M opening at 4,058 theaters. This morning, Warner Bros. is calling it at $31.5M, but the industry sees it at $31.2M. Estimates for the film have dropped from $45M on mid-day Friday to $36M last night to where we are now. As expected, Blade Runner 2049 was front-loaded, with Saturday seeing an estimated $11.4M, an -11% decline from Friday’s $12.6M (which includes $4M Thursday previews).
We detailed in our previous update what went wrong here, and, in brief, there was an oversight by the producers on the Blade Runner brand’s low wattage among the masses despite its eternal legacy praise by critics. You don’t build a movie that costs in excess of $155M net for just one quadrant –older males (guys over 25 rep 53% per PostTrak)– and mount a campaign that’s shrouded in secrecy, thus sidelining a brand new potential generation of fans.
“You can’t blame this on the run time. There have been a number of two and half-hour-plus movies that have done business. To the lay moviegoer, this was an obscure IP and the marketing campaign never told a story whatsoever. I still don’t know what this movie is about. Replicant? WTF is a replicant? The marketing campaign assumed the entire audience was in on the property,” expounded a rival studio executive on the Blade Runner 2049 calamity.
We hear that Alcon Entertainment was the architect of the Blade Runner 2049 campaign and that they had final say on budget spend and positioning, and that Warner Bros. hands were tied. Truth be told, Warner Bros. has opened complex movies (i.e. Inception $62.8M) and vintage reboots (Mad Max: Fury Road, $45M) before with great success.
Also, if you’re looking to hook the Marvel or DC crowd into this reborn franchise, a PG-13 rating could have assisted Blade Runner 2049 without selling its quality short (there’s nothing really dicey in the movie, violence or sex-wise). If you’re going to build a movie for one quadrant, it can’t be at a $100M-plus price. Plain and simple.
That said, Blade Runner 2049 is too slow for the under-25 guy bunch (they gave it a B on CinemaScore, with those 2% of under-18ers who ducked the R-rating restriction at their local theater giving the sequel a B-). If you’re wondering why Mad Max: Fury Road, another ’80s sci-fi franchise reboot, out-performed Blade Runner 2049 ($45M opening), it’s because that was a much faster-paced film which stoked the attention spans of the under-25 set. In addition, there was hero identity in Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron’s characters, the latter a persona who could stoke those women in the theater. There’s not that much hero identity going on in the moody, brooding tale of Ryan Gosling’s Blade Runner. Per PostTrak, more under-25 men turned out for Mad Max vs. Blade Runner 2049 (26% to 15%) and more under-25 females (17% to 8%). In addition, Mad Max‘s demos were more spread out and not so older guy heavy when compared to Blade Runner 2049 (males over 25 were 34% for the George Miller-directed pic, to 50% for the Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel).
Now the audience polls coming out of Blade Runner 2049 are glowing with an A- CinemaScore and 81% overall positive on PostTrak. However, it’s believed that the fan turnout is propping those scores up. If there was any kind of word- of-mouth in effect, we wouldn’t be seeing a further decline in ticket sales.
Social media monitor Relish Mix sees a further sobering reality of what people actually thought about Blade Runner 2049. As of Saturday, RelishMix reports, “Convo swirls as fans argue over the ending and drop spoilers and plot points that are flying across social channels. Many comments relate to the film’s long length, the need to see the original before seeing Blade Runner 2049.” On Twitter, the combination of hashtags for #BladeRunner2049 and #BladeRunner have grown from 21K on Wednesday to 35K on Friday, which is good, yet behind for the genre, per RelishMix. Jared Leto is the biggest social star for the film, counting 20.2M across his social channels, and he even popped by the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood to delight fans on opening night. Blade Runner 2049 star Ryan Gosling only counts 2.3M on Twitter. Nonetheless, he’s been promoting the film.
Even though Warner Bros. doesn’t have equity in the film, you can’t say that the studio didn’t try in getting this 163-minute sci-fi epic into theaters. At 4,058 theaters, Blade Runner 2049 is October’s widest release, and the trick in coming weeks will be holding this opus on screen. It’s a lot to ask movie-goers to commit close to three hours of their time at the theater (once you count the trailer pre-show). The pic performed largely in big city markets and the west. It was essentially an up-market film with die-hard fans shelling out $5M to see it at Imax venues for a notable 16% share of the sequel’s opening. Where this movie collapsed was in Middle America and small towns.
It’s painful to assess the damage here with Blade Runner 2049 because it is really a beautiful, brilliant piece of sci-fi that stands apart in its genre, and stands side-by-side with its 1982 predecessor. The movie is so sincere to its original film in its sensibility, which is arguably what’s keeping the masses away; Blade Runner 2049 is truly drunk on its own labyrinthine mythology and leaves too many danglers. When Universal/Legendary’s Steve Jobs tanked at the box office ($17.8M domestic, $30M production cost), Oscar season pundits declared its awards season’s chances dead. But then Steve Jobs earned four Golden Globe nominations and won two for Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and Kate Winslet in a supporting role, and it went on to be nominated for two Oscars for Winslet and Michael Fassbender’s performance. While Mad Max: Fury Road did all right at the B.O. during its summer run with a $154M total, Warner Bros. found an extra life for the movie during Oscar season with 10 nominations, including best picture, and six wins. Similar to Mad Max, Warners has the critics on its side with Blade Runner 2049 ,which owns an 89% Rotten Tomatoes score. A big Oscar push could find another audience for Blade Runner 2049. Then again, it’s a long road ahead.
20th Century Fox/Chernin’s The Mountain Between Us is now looking at a second place slot with $10.1M after a $4.2M Saturday, +20% from Friday. 20th Century Fox is calling that as their Sunday morning figure. It was always meant to be counter-programming and placate those women who have no interest or want to sit through a 163-minute flying car noir. But it’s not a glamorous start in regards to its $35M production cost, and Fox will now have to look abroad, specifically Winslet’s UK homeland.
Mountain was the opposite of Blade Runner 2049 in that it drew those in small towns, and that spoke to the pic’s old-fashioned sensibility. The Hany Abu-Assad-directed movie over-indexed in the Rocky Mountain, Midwest, south and south central US, while under-indexing in the west, northeast, and Canada. Top 20 markets that over-indexed were Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Tampa-St. Pete, Detroit, and Minneapolis. Top 20 markets that under-indexed include LA, NY, SF, Toronto, and Boston. Top-grossing theaters came from NY, San Antonio, Phoenix, Sacramento, Redlands, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. Canada came in with a soft 5.84% market share. Audience breakdown final per Fox is 81% over 25, 58% female.
New Line/Warner Bros.’ ever-powerful It is looking at $9.59M, per industry estimates, in third as of Saturday night and WB is calling the Stephen King movie at $9.65M , -43% for a running cume of $304.9M by EOD Sunday. Saturday made $4.35M, +62% over Friday. It is the $35M-budgeted pic of the fall, which opened to 3.5x its production cost or $123.4M. Blade Runner 2049 is the $155M-plus budgeted pic of the fall that is opening to 20% of its production cost or $31.3M.
And Lionsgate/Hasbro’s My Little Pony isn’t anything to be rearing about. Rival distributors were content on Friday afternoon over its potential double-digit results, especially for a movie aimed at little girls. But the pic is proven to be more niche than anything else, with an $8.8M three-day (in sync with Lionsgate’s Sunday AM figure), well-below mid-teen tracking estimates and news of its solid advance ticket sales. Saturday’s business looks to be coming in at $3.45M, +16% over Friday. Like Warner Bros.’ Lego Ninjago Movie: If you can watch it on TV at home, why go to the movies?
Focus Features’ awards season contender Victoria & Abdul is off to a great start at 732 sites in 153 tops markets with $4.1M and a running three-week cume of $5.9M.
Studio reported weekend figures as of Sunday AM:
1.)Blade Runner 2049 (ALC/WB/SONY), 4,058 theaters / $12.74M Fri. (includes $4M previews) /$11.4M Sat/$7.4M Sun/ 3-day cume: $31.5M / Wk 1
2.)The Mountain Between Us (FOX), 3,088 heaters / $3.5M Fri. (includes $400K previews) / $4.2M Sat/$2.4M Sun/3-day cume: $10.1M / Wk 1
3.) It (NL/WB), 3,605 theaters (-312) / $2.7M Fri. /$4.3M Sat/ $2.6M/ 3-day cume: $9.65M (-43%) / Total: $304.9M / Wk 5
4.)My Little Pony (LG), 2,528 heaters / $2.97M Fri. (includes $290K previews) / $3.45M Sat/ $2.38M Sun/3-day cume: $8.8M / Wk 1
5.) Kingsman: The Golden Circle (FOX), 3,488 theaters (-550) / $2.3M Fri. /$3.6M Sat/ $2.2M Sun/ 3-day cume: $8.1M (-52%) / Total: $79.96M / Wk 3
6.) American Made (UNI), 3,031 (+7) / $2.34M Fri. /$3.46M Sat/ $2.25M Sun/ 3-day cume: $8.07M (-52%)/Total: $30.4M/ Wk 2
7.) The Lego Ninjago Movie (WB), 3,611 theaters (-436) / $1.6M Fri. /$3M Sat/ $2.1M Sun/3-day cume: $6.75M (-42%) / Total: $43.8M / Wk 3
8.) Victoria & Abdul (FOCUS), 732 theaters (+655) / $1.2K Fri. /$1.6M Sat/ $12.9M Sun/ 3-day cume: $4.1M (+279%)/Total: $5.95M/ Wk 3
9.) Flatliners (SONY), 2,552 theaters / $1M Fri. /$1.07M Sat/ $1.05M Sun/3-day cume: $3.8M (-42%) / Total: $12.3M /Wk 2
10.) Battle of the Sexes (FSL), 1,822 theaters (+609) / $695K Fri. /$1M Sat/ $635K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.4M (-29%) / Total: $7.7M / Wk 3
The Stray (PURE) 640 screens, $185K Fri/$246K Sat/ $119K Sun/3-day: $550K/Wk 1
A Question of Faith (PURE), 608 theaters (-53) / $127K Fri. /$187K Sat/$121K Sun/ 3-day cume: $435K (-58%)/Total: $1.77M/ Wk 2
The Florida Project (A24), 4 theaters / $53k Fri. /$55K Sat/$44K Sun/PTA: $38K/ 3-day cume: $152,6K / Wk 1