Why Blade Runner 2049 Struggled At The Box Office, According To The Director

Blade Runner 2049 Officer K at the bar

While it wasn't the huge crash and burn flop it could have been, Blade Runner 2049 still managed to underwhelm in its box office run. So naturally, everyone is asking the question of just what went wrong with the seemingly satisfying follow-up to a true sci-fi classic. Well, if you're Denis Villeneuve, it's not an easy answer to come up with, but there are definitely some factors that stand out. And in a recent media appearance, Villeneuve highlighted the following as the reasons why he thinks K and Deckard's adventure may have struggled:

I'm still digesting it. ... I think because maybe people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact that the movie's long [2 hours, 44 minutes run time]. I don't know. It's still a mystery to me. I make movies --- I don't sell them.

It's certainly hard for a filmmaker to try and figure out why a movie like Blade Runner 2049 didn't catch fire at the movies. With an all-star cast, an established and respected property as its basis, and some serious advertising muscle behind the film's push to theaters, it's somewhat surprising that the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 original was received as tepidly as it was. But it's hard to ignore the fact that in a world that tends to gravitate towards rock 'em, sock 'em films that clock in closer to between two to two and a half hours, an almost three hour epic of deliberate pacing and heavy ideas will have a bit of a disadvantage.

Even on a practical level, with fewer screenings being available in a day, the opening weekend to Blade Runner 2049 wouldn't have had as many screenings as, say, Wonder Woman or even Justice League. But surely the lack of extra screenings isn't the only factor, as while Blade Runner has been a classic fixture in the sci-fi community, filmgoers at large aren't all familiar with the world of Replicants, the Voight-Kampf test, and how memories are lost like tears in the rain. So it's probably a lot for any newcomer to take in, and when there's other newer films that don't require any pre-reading at the theater, folks are going to probably go with the easier option.

It's hard to pinpoint the exact factor that lead to Blade Runner 2049's not-so-rosy box office picture. However, no matter how you look at the immediate result, only time will truly tell if the film's legacy is as disappointing as the financial news would have you believe. That's something that Denis Villeneuve and any Blade Runner fan could get behind, so if you want to pass some of the time needed to truly see how this whole situation pans out, you can watch the entire interview between Denis Villeneuve and Yahoo Entertanment, below.

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Blade Runner 2049 may not be in too many theaters now, but you can still find some exciting and entertaining options at the movies through the rest of the year thanks to our 2017 release schedule.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.