Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve reflects on the neo-noir sci-fi sequel’s box office bombing and his fears of it affecting his career.
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve reflects on the neo-noir sci-fi sequel’s box office bombing and his fears of it affecting his career. The 2017 film acts as a sequel to Ridley Scott’s celebrated 1982 film, with stars Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos reprising their roles from the original film. The new cast for the long-gestated follow-up was led by Ryan Gosling as a new blade runner alongside Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.
Hitting theaters 25 years after the original’s release, Blade Runner 2049 debuted to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike for the faithfulness to the original film and source material, direction, musical score, visual effects and performances from its cast. Unfortunately, this acclaim wouldn’t translate to box office success for the film, which would ultimately gross just $260.5 million worldwide against an estimated production budget of $185 million and a break-even point of $400 million. Talks of a potential continuation or separate installment in the franchise floated both before and after the film’s release, though its box office numbers have left this future uncertain.
In anticipation of the release of Dune, Villeneuve spoke with MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast and reflected on Blade Runner 2049‘s dismal box office returns. The director expressed his gratitude that its underperformance didn’t get him banned from filmmaking and some harsh criticisms he’s put on himself in the years since. See what Villeneuve said below:
“I knew that when I did this movie I flirted with disaster. I put myself into massive artistic danger. That was walking, as Christopher Nolan said to me once…walking on sacred territory. It’s true. It was sacrilegious what I did. I was told, ‘You don’t do that.’ Just the fact that I’m still here making movies, for me…at least I wasn’t banned from the filmmaker community. It was a dangerous game.”
Villeneuve’s fears of the film’s disappointing box office numbers killing his career are understandable as such a thing is known to happen in Hollywood all the time. However, his criticisms of making something “sacrilegious” with Blade Runner 2049 seems a bit extreme when looking at both the rave reviews the sequel received as well as the box office numbers of its predecessor. Upon hitting theaters in 1982, the original Blade Runner was similarly considered a box office disappointment, grossing just $41.5 million against its $30 million budget at a time when such a budget was largely unheard of, clocking in as nearly triple that of the year’s highest-grossing film E.T. The Extra Terrestrial‘s $10.5 million budget.
Though Blade Runner 2049 may have underperformed at the box office, it clearly didn’t come as too much of a disappointment for Warner Bros. or Legendary. Both studios have doubled down on their faith in Villeneuve with the big-budget adaptation of Dune, a novel also notorious amongst its fanbase for the various poor attempts at bringing it to life on film, let alone in such a grand fashion. Only time will tell if the sci-fi epic faces a similar fate or can better capture box office success when it arrives in theaters and HBO Max on October 22.
More: Why WB Is Betting So Big On Dune & Villeneuve (Despite Blade Runner 2049)
Source: Happy Sad Confused Podcast
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Blade Runner 2049 Director Reflects On Movie Being A Box Office Bomb