It's been 35 years in the making, but things are looking good for Blade Runner 2049. This represents one of the longest gaps in history between sequels, which also makes it a risky one. Early indication is that the risk is going to pay off, as the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner is set to have a solid opening weekend at the box office.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blade Runner 2049 is currently tracking for a debut of $40 million or more when it arrives in theaters on October 6. The original Blade Runner has gone on to become one of the most respected sci-fi movies in the history of cinema, but it was a complete bomb at the time of its release. Blade Runner only made $32 million in total during its run at the box office in 1982, so Blade Runner 2049 will have already outgrossed its predecessor within its first weekend.
Blade Runner 2049 is set thirty years after the events of the first movie, which means that it will be taking full advantage of the long time gap. The sequel centers on a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling, who unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. This discovery leads him on a journey to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years, once again played by Harrison Ford. We're also going to be treated to another insane performance by Oscar-winner Jared Leto, who looks to be playing the villain in the sequel. It recently came to light that he wore contacts to be blind during the entire shoot, since his character, Niander Wallace, is blind.
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This will mark the biggest debut for director Denis Villeneuve, who has been on the rise in recent years with his movies Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. $40 million is a very solid opening weekend for an R-rated movie, generally speaking. But considering that Blade Runner 2049 has a reported production budget of at least $100 million, it is going to need some good word of mouth to keep the box office dollars flowing in the following weeks. It is also going to rely pretty heavily on overseas box office to make the movie a hit. At the very least, it sounds like Blade Runner 2049 won't be a bomb.
Fortunately, Blade Runner 2049 isn't going to have a lot of serious competition. My Little Pony: The Movie is also releasing that weekend, along with the thriller The Mountain Between Us. Fortunately, the former is gunning for a very different audience and the latter isn't likely to take much away from the Blade Runner sequel.
In recent years, we've seen that long-delayed sequels can have a tough time making their money back at the box office. Movies like Zoolander 2 and Trainspotting 2 didn't do much business upon their release. However, in the case of Zoolander 2, that movie was panned by critics. Reviews haven't yet been revealed for Blade Runner 2049, but if they are as positive as fans hope, that could help give the box office a boost.