We welcome October with a sequel to a movie that was originally in theaters more than 35 years ago. Also: My Little Pony, Bronies!
Weekend Forecast for October 6-8, 2017
By Kim Hollis
October 5, 2017
In 2015, when Harrison Ford returned to the Star Wars franchise after 32 years, that little movie set the records for both opening weekend and domestic box office. Now, Ford is back for another round of Blade Runner, a film that has a huge following among sci-fi fans and is considered one of the best in the genre. Obviously, Blade Runner isn’t on the level of Star Wars, but it has a lot going for it, including Ford’s presence.
Blade Runner 2049 moves 30 years past the setting of the original, with the replicants that were once illegal now integrated into society. Ryan Gosling is one such replicant, and he works for the LAPD to locate and “retire” rogue model replicants. Things happen, Gosling eventually meets up with Ford’s Rick Decker, and together they solve a mystery where probably nothing is what it appears to be at first glance.
The original Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, is so well loved by its fans that most of them own 87 different versions of the film. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s true that there have been so many director’s cuts that people who want to revisit the 1982 version have so many options that it might prove challenging to decide which one to choose. Scott was revered for a long time for his work on Blade Runner and Alien, but his cachet diminished with the questionable quality of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. So, he’s onboard for Blade Runner as lead producer, but after a few false starts, someone else is sitting in the director’s chair.
That someone is Denis Villeneuve, who was the man behind the sublime sci-fi drama Arrival (as well as Prisoners and Sicario). Although that film started with a somewhat modest $24.1 million, it eventually crossed the $100 million mark domestically and also earned eight Academy Award nominations. So, Blade Runner 2049 has appeal for both fanboys of the original film and people who simply loved what Villeneuve did with Arrival. And that doesn’t even take into account potential Ryan Gosling fans who might show up.
What does all this mean for the box office potential? That’s a tricky question, as there is enough distance from Blade Runner 2019 that the younger movie-going audience won’t understand its impact. However, younger Boomers and Gen X-ers should be out in force – at least those in the group that still attends movies. Reviews are rapturous, with some critics calling 2049 one of the best sequels ever. All of these factors should combine to take the debut weekend of Blade Runner 2049 to a decent $58 million. From there, look for strong legs as word-of-mouth spreads and people find the time to catch up on the first movie.
Now we get to the lesser-anticipated films of the weekend (to say the least). The Mountain Between Us, featuring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, is debuting on more than 3,000 screens for some reason. Despite the fact that both of these performers are perfectly lovely, the only reason to see this movie is if you enjoy watching people (and possibly pets) suffer. Elba and Winslet portray people who charter a plane that crashes in the middle of a frozen nowhere. With no help anywhere in the area, they’re forced to rely on their own wits. Both Elba and Winslet are better than this material, and without any sort of awards buzz, this is the type of film that audiences avoid like crazy. Call it $7 million for the weekend.
Finally, The My Little Pony is a real thing that is happening. This movie is being released in theaters this weekend, and the people in attendance are likely to be a varied bunch. From the younger children to whom it should appeal, to the Bronies (dudes who unabashedly love My Little Pony), this animated flick has a weirdly enthusiastic audience waiting for it. Distributor Lionsgate hasn’t had the greatest success with animation, and My Little Pony won’t be much different. Look for $8.5 million for the weekend.