While many were expecting Blade Runner 2049 to continue the fall box office hot streak started by New Line Cinema's IT remake, the long-awaited sequel fell way under expectations, opening at just $32.7 million. Through its three-week run, it's managed to take in just $72 million domestic, although it has performed a bit better overseas with $120.1 million, for a worldwide total of $194.1 million, it's still considered by many to be a box office bomb. Director Denis Villeneuve has responded to the disappointing box office results in an interview, but be warned, there will be SPOILERS if you haven't seen the movie quite yet.
After the movie's release, there were several pundits who wondered that if several key details were revealed to the public, that may have enticed more fans than those who enjoyed the first movie. For instance, director Denis Villeneuve sent out a letter to journalists asking them not to reveal key plot details in their articles and reviews, such as a provocative three-way sex scene between Ryan Gosling's Agent K, Mackenzie Davis' Mariette and Ana de Armas' Joi, or the pivotal plot point that Agent K is in fact a replicant, a fact that is revealed in the film's opening moments. When asked if he had any regrets about his spoiler policy and how it seemingly affected the box office, director Denis Villeneuve had this to say.
"As a filmmaker, I'm not arrogant. People put a lot of money in the movie to allow me to make something like Blade Runner. They trusted me, and they gave me a lot of freedom, and they are friends. So of course I want the movie to be a success at the end of the day. It's a long journey, but I want them not to lose money."
The director also insisted that Warner Bros. not roll out Blade Runner 2049 at any of the fall film festivals like the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, to preserve these critical plot details from leaking ahead of the film's release. Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.' domestic distribution president, admitted that the studio "overestimated" the fan base for this movie, although the director doesn't fault the studio's cagey marketing as a reason the movie didn't fare so well. In fact, he was inspired by serving as a juror in an unidentified film festival and thinks that fans want to know too much about a movie before it hits theaters.
"As a cinephile, one of my best experiences was when I was on a film festival jury. I had to watch 20 movies without knowing anything about them. You don't know the genre, you don't know the country, you don't know the story. You don't know if you're about to look at a comedy or a horror movie! I'm relieved to be able to talk about the movie. I spent a year talking around the pink elephant in the room. But people want to know too many things before. They should read about the movie after they see it, not before."
The one area that the movie seemingly didn't disappoint is with the critics, with extremely positive Blade Runner early reactions leading to an impressive 88% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has caught some heat, though, for its portrayal of women, which may have been another factor in why it disappointed at the box office. You can visit Vulture for more from director Denis Villeneuve on that three-way sex scene and other aspects of the movie.