Director Denis Villeneuve Talks About Why ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Flopped

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brian-mcgee - November 22, 2017

One of the higher profile box office disappointments in 2017 was the ambitious sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049. Though the film was almost universally beloved by critics, it failed to connect with audiences both here in North America and abroad. Much like its predecessor, it will probably take years for the film to gain in cult status, but in the meantime, director Denis Villeneuve is taking the film's disappointing box office performance in stride.

While speaking with Yahoo Movies, Villeneuve gives a very pragmatic answer when asked why the film underperformed...

I’m still digesting it,” Villeneuve told Yahoo Entertainment during a Facebook Live interview when asked what he thought about the sequel’s struggles. “We had the best [critics’ reviews]. I’ve never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time the box office in the United States was a disappointment, that’s true, because those movies are expensive. It will still make tons of money, but not enough.”

While noting that the film did perform well in Europe and larger U.S. cities, the French-Canadian filmmaker could only speculate on why it didn’t connect wider. “I think because maybe people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact that the movie’s long [its run time is 2 hours, 44 minutes]. I don’t know. It’s still a mystery to me. I make movies — I don’t sell them.

There's plenty of reasons why the film didn't do well, and he touched on many of them. I think the over-reliance on secrecy hurt the film as well as the marketing protected the film's plot like it was a state secret. I'm sure its status will grow with genre fans over the years, but there's still no escaping the fact that it was a gamble to spend a ton of money on a sequel to a movie that notoriously flopped when it was released 35 years ago. 

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