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The original Blade Runner was not a box office hit, but has become a science fiction classic over the last three decades. Now, the sequel is finally here. What does its early box office say about the new film's potential success? Last night's early screening totals are in and Blade Runner 2049 finished up with about $4 million at the box office, which looks to put the science fiction film in a solid position going into its opening weekend.
While $4 million is by no means a record for Thursday night previews, it's a more than respectable number. As Box Office Mojo points out, that total exceeds other science fiction dramas like Gravity, The Martian, and Interstellar. All three of those films went on to see an opening weekend in excess of $45 million, which would seem to indicate that Blade Runner 2049 is on track to do somewhere in the neighborhood of $45-55 million, up from the $40 million opening that was previously predicted.
When adjusted for inflation, the original Blade Runner's domestic box office total is just north of $80 million, which means the sequel is looking to do half that or more in one weekend. Blade Runner 2049 will almost certainly outdo its predecessor, and when the worldwide numbers are added to that, the movie will almost certainly make back its estimated $150 million budget. This is good news for everybody involved, as it honestly wasn't that clear just how many people would turn out for the sequel to a movie that's over three decades old. Blade Runner 2049 is also a sequel that's very true to the original, in that it's not a sci-fi action movie. The sequel is a serious and dramatic movie that is more noir detective story than it is a traditional blockbuster.
With box office numbers like this are combined with Blade Runner 2049 's near-universally critical praise, it would seem that the sequel will be able to avoid the long quest for recognition that Ridley Scott's original had to take. Blade Runner 2049 looks to just be a great movie, and it is being recognized as such now rather than later.
Based on these numbers Blade Runner 2049 should have no problem winning the weekend at the box office. Last weekend Kingsman: The Golden Circle ended up being number one with just short of $17 million. The only other major releases coming out this weekend are the Kate Winslet/Idris Elba drama The Mountain Between Us, which brought in $400,000 on Thursday night, and the My Little Pony movie, which brought in under $300,000, though it's possible younger audiences could help boost that over the weekend.
Will you be checking out Blade Runner 2049 this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.