Blade Runner 2049 was a sequel to a much-loved cult classic, but it seems that the follow up is going to end up achieving similar status as its predecessor, as the sequel looks to become an official box office bomb. With a global box office take of just over $240 million, Blade Runner 2049 is now staring down the barrel of an $80 million loss for production company Alcon Entertainment and other investors.
Blade Runner 2049's production budget was about $155 million but when marketing and other costs are added in, the $240 million global box office just isn't enough to make money for everybody involved. Part of this is because one studio involved in the production, Sony, brokered a deal that allowed them to recoup their investment before everybody else, in exchange for a smaller share of the profits. Sony is now expected to make back their $110 million that they put into the film, meaning everybody else has to divide up what's left.
The lack of success is especially hard on Alcon Entertainment. The small production company that previously had not been involved in major productions like Blade Runner 2049 and saw this as a sort of coming out party for larger projects. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, in order to be a success, Blade Runner 2049 would have needed to bring in $400 million globally, and it's going to come in well under that number.
While Blade Runner 2049 poor performance is unfortunate, because the movie is great, it's not entirely unexpected. The film had an uphill battle from the outset. While the original Blade Runner is considered a science fiction classic today, it had its own difficulty finding an audience decades ago. While many might have seen it, and even enjoyed it since, that's not the same thing as having created legions of fans dying for a sequel. Blade Runner isn't a science fiction action franchise, the sort of thing that tends to have better luck drawing a wide audience. The audience that's passionate enough to run to the theater to see a sequel 30 years after the fact is still small, and the rave reviews of the film weren't enough to draw any new potential fans to the franchise. In fact, when adjusted for inflation, Blade Runner 2049 only barely exceeded the domestic box office take of the original film, which shows just how much the new film was unable to attract a new audience.
If past is prologue then many more people will eventually discover that Blade Runner 2049 is a great movie. There's still the possibility that the movie could end up doing amazing business on Blu-Ray, which could help make up for the box office loss. At this point, we'll just have to wait and see.
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