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Blade Runner 2049 tops US box office with muted $31.5 million

Blade Runner 2049

Story by Jack Foley

DENIS Villeneuve’s big-budget, critically-acclaimed sequel Blade Runner 2049 has opened on top of the US box office with an estimated $31.5 million – a figure that was much lower than anticipated.

The long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 all-time science fiction classic suffered a poor start for a film that reportedly cost $150 million to make after tax rebates and incentives, especially as heading into the weekend, all signs pointed to somewhere in excess of $45 million.

Overseas, it grossed a further $50 million for a global bow of $81.5 million, which means that unless it performs better than expected in China, Japan and South Korea, where it has yet to open, the film is unlikely to meet its goal of earning at least $400 million worldwide.

The film, which brings back Harrison Ford and introduces Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto to the world created by Scott, had been seeking to emulate the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road, Gravity and The Martian, which took $45 million and $54 million-plus, respectively.

But it will now be hoping to trade on the strong word of mouth the film is likely to generate, which follows the rapturous critical reception the film received. Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner was also a slow starter and took time to be recognised as the classic it remains today.

In what was generally another poor weekend for new releases at the US box office, romantic drama The Mountain Between Us, starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, and animated family film My Little Pony, also struggled to make much of an impression.

The former, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, took only $10.1 million from a $35 million budget. The film tells the tale of two travellers who are stranded in the wilderness after surviving a plane crash. Its figure was enough to place second.

Lionsgate and Hasbro’s animated My Little Pony mustered only $8.8 million. Based on Hasbro’s television series and magical pony toy line, the film is voiced by Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth and Michael Pena. Overseas, it only took in $3.8 million for a global bow of $12.6 million.

My Little Pony actually only managed fourth spot in the US, where it was beaten to third spot by horror sensation IT, which earned $9 million in its fifth outing to clear the $300 million mark in the US alone.

Internationally, IT, based on the killer clown novel by Stephen King, is now the biggest horror film of all time with $298.8 million, putting the film’s worldwide haul at $603.7 million.

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