You’d think that critical acclaim would go hand-in-hand with box office success, even if enthusiastic reviews haven’t been the main driver of encouraging audiences to head to their local multiplex for a long time now.
However, when you also factor in Blade Runner 2049‘s status as the long-awaited sequel to an all-time classic that boasted one of the industry’s most talented filmmakers at the helm, it really shouldn’t have ended in disaster.
The project had lingered in development hell for decades before Denis Villenueve finally injected life into the futuristic follow-up, and fans of Ridley Scott’s original weren’t left disappointed by the end product. Neither were critics or casual viewers either, to be fair, but nowhere near enough of them stumped up the cash to pay for a ticket.
Despite securing an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes to go with the 81% user rating, Blade Runner 2049 also found itself shortlisted for five Academy Awards. In the end, the visually stunning epic ended up winning two, with Roger Deakins finally landing the trophy for Best Cinematography at the 14th time of asking.
Unfortunately, though, Blade Runner 2049 was a million miles away from being a smash hit. Once marketing and distribution costs were added to the $185 million budget, a $259 million haul from theaters was verging on outright catastrophe, instantly killing the chance for any additional installments.
On the plus side, Scott’s sequel series 2099 is in active development at Amazon, while Villenueve’s 2049 has become the number one most-watched movie on Netflix in the United States per FlixPatrol, an incredible turnaround for a movie that wasn’t even on the charts this time yesterday.