Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most critically-praised movies of 2017, but it is going to go down as a big box office failure. The movie was incredibly expensive to make and, given that it's a sequel to a cult classic sci-fi movie that came out 30 years ago, it's not hard to imagine it being a tough sell for broad audiences. But Ridley Scott, who directed the original and produced the sequel, says Blade Runner 2049 failed because it was way too long.
Ridley Scott is currently making the press rounds for All the Money in the World, a movie which he managed to save at the last minute by replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. During an interview, he was asked about the reception to Blade Runner 2049 and was rather candid. Not only did he say the movie was too long, but he reveals that a lot of the script is from him directly. Here's what he had to say about it.
"I have to be careful what I say. It was f*****g way too long. F*** me! And most of that script's mine...I sit with writers for an inordinate amount of time and I will not take credit, because it means I've got to sit there with a tape recorder while we talk. I can't do that to a good writer. But I have to, because to prove I'm part of the actual process, I have to then have an endless amount [of proof], and I can't be bothered."
In a different interview, Ridley Scott added that he personally "would have taken out half an hour." Considering that Blade Runner 2049 is 2 hours and 43 minutes, there's certainly a whole lot of movie leftover if Scott were to cut 30 minutes of the runtime out. But it's not really his movie. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) was at the helm for the sequel and the studio was very much behind his vision. In the interview, Scott also talked about his specific contributions to the story.
"But the big idea comes from Blade Runner. Tyrell is a trillionaire, maybe 5 to 10 percent of his business is AI. Like God, he has created perfect beings that, for all intents and purposes, there is no telling the difference from humans. Then he says, 'You know what? I'm going to create an AI. I'll have a male and female, they will not know that they're both AIs, I'll have them meet each other, they will fall in love, they will consummate, and they will have a child.' That's the first film. The second film is, what happens to the baby? You've got to have the baby, you can't have the mother, so the mother has to inexplicably die four months after she breastfeeds. The bones are found in the box at the foot of the tree, that's all me. And the digital girlfriend is me. I wanted an evolution from Pris, who is inordinately sexy in the original, right?"
Despite great critical reception, Blade Runner 2049 made just $258.2 million worldwide, working from a massive $150 million production budget. Would a shorter movie really have fixed that? It's impossible to know, but it probably couldn't have hurt anything. You can check out the full interview with Ridley Scott over at Vulture.