Ridley Scott reveals why he thinks Blade Runner 2049 flopped at the box office

William Mullally
William Mullally
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Blade Runner 2049 was a critical and fan darling, cementing its director Denis Villeneuve as one of the top filmmakers of his generation and proving that there was much more story to tell in Blade Runner’s universe. On critics’ year-end lists, it is the #9 film on aggregate, sports an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is currently ranked at 66 on the IMDb Top 250. It did not, however, perform to expectations at the box office, earning $91,524,557 in the US for a total of $258,245,550 worldwide.

Denis Villeneuve recently spoke to Yahoo Entertainment (via Slashfilm), expressing confusion about what happened.

“I’m still digesting it. It had the best [reviews] of my life. I never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time, the box office in the United States was a disappointment, that’s the truth, because those movies are expensive. It will still make tons of money but not enough. The thing I think is that, it was maybe because people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact the movie’s long. I don’t know, it’s still a mystery to me.”

The original film, released in 1982, was also a box office failure, eventually becoming a cult classic before being rightfully elevated to mainstream classic, and possibly the best science fiction film ever made.

Ridley Scott, the director of the original, was very much involved in Blade Runner 2049, serving as a producer on the sequel.

When Scott sat down with Al Arabiya for his new film All the Money in the World, set for release across the Middle East on January 4, I asked him about the matter.

“Blade Runner 2049 was a wonderful movie.”

“Yes,” said Scott.

“But it didn’t perform to expectations.”

“No,” said Scott.

“What would you attribute that too, personally?”

“It’s slow. It’s slow. Long. Too long. I would have taken out half an hour,” said Scott.

Blade Runner 2049’s theatrical running time was two hours 44 minutes. Scott’s original ran for one hour 57 minutes.

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