BO Report: Harrison Ford tries to wind back the clock in ‘Blade Runner 2049’

09 October, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Blade Runner 2049’.

The Blade Runner reboot posed two questions: Can Harrison Ford still open a movie at the at age of 75? And will Alcon Entertainment/Sony Pictures’ investment in the sci-fi– reportedly budgeted at $US155 million – pay off?


The initial answers are respectively a highly qualified yes and unlikely after Blade Runner 2049 reigned in the US, Australia and 44 other markets last weekend, but with far from impressive numbers.

Directed by Dennis Villeneuve, the reboot of Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic rang up $4.5 million on 289 screens in Australia, which Sony said was 9 per cent ahead of Interstellar’s debut and 28 per cent up on Gravity.

In the US the estimated three-day total was a paltry $US31.5 million, way below pre-release tracking which had pointed to $44 million-$46 million.

The reviews for the imaginative and at times violent epic co-starring Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks were nearly 90 per cent positive, and in the US the audience rating on CinemaScore was a healthy A minus.

Pundits have theorised that not enough people remembered the original film and they described the domestic marketing campaign by Warner Bros as obscure and failing to convey the guts of the story.

The international total was $US50.2 million from 63 markets. The film needs to gross more than $US400 million worldwide to break even, which seems out of reach.

The force is still with Ford in the Star Wars franchise but his other recent films including The Age of Adaline, Expendables 3, Ender’s Game and Paranoia were duds.

In Australia the top 20 titles collected $14.5 million last weekend, down fractionally on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Two Chinese titles, action comedy Never Day Die and crime drama Chasing the Dragon, had spirited debuts but the other newcomers including Final Portrait and Fireworks struggled.

Jen Peedom’s Mountain climbed to $1.85 million after earning $58,000 in its third weekend on 37 screens while Jeffrey Walker’s Ali’s Wedding reached $1.1 million after pocketing $55,000 in its sixth on 46, both released by Madman Entertainment.

The second Premium VOD release from the Foxtel/Dendy Direct co-venture, The Girl with All the Gifts, a British post-apocalyptic zombie horror movie directed by Colm McCarthy, fetched just $5,200 on four screens. The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment title starring Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton will be available to rent on Foxtel Store and on Dendy Direct on October 11.

Kriv Stenders’ Australia Day, which pioneered the PVOD model, has grossed $63,000 but the online buy-rates will be much more indicative of the initiative’s potential.

Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle ranked second, capturing nearly $2 million in its third outing at 296 cinemas, falling by 45 per cent. Matthew Vaughn’s action/adventure/comedy starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Mark Strong has amassed a strapping $15.9 million Down Under and a lucrative $US254 million worldwide.

Still the first choice for kids and their parents, Sony’s animated sci-fi-comedy The Emoji Movie collared $1.7 million in its fourth frame at 305 locations, propelling its total to $12.4 million.

Fox/DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, David Soren’s CGI adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s children’s books, rustled up $1.4 million in its third on 303, advancing to $8.5 million.

A distant third choice for kids, Warner Animation Group’s The LEGO Ninjago Movie reached $4.8 million after making $888,000 in its third at 306, by far the lowest result in the three-pic franchise.

Warner Bros/New Line blockbuster It is showing remarkable stamina, collecting $773,000 in its fifth lap at 254. The horror/thriller directed by Andy Muschietti has raked in $22.8 million in Australia and a record $604 million globally.

Sony’s misguided Flatliners reboot directed by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Niels Arden Oplev, conjured up $609,000 in its second weekend on 217, down 46 per cent. The horror/thriller starring Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiefer Sutherland has banked $2.3 million.

Stephen Frears’ classy Victoria and Abdul topped $6.9 million after earning $545,000 in its fourth outing at 267 for Universal.

Co-directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), Battle of the Sexes tumbled by 42 per cent to $452,000 in its second set at 238, suggesting word of mouth isn’t great. The dramedy starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone has netted $1.8 million.

Never Say Die, the saga of a UFC fighter and a female journalist who accidentally exchange bodies after they are struck by a current, from directors Yang Song and Chiyu Zhang, punched up $224,000 on 19 screens for distributor CMCP.

Fairfax Media’s Paul Byrnes hailed director Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait as a film rich with humanity, humour and a deep sense of why art is important.

However few moviegoers seem to share those sentiments, as the biopic of Swiss-Italian artist Alberto Giancarlo (Geoffrey Rush) and American writer James Lord (Armie Hammer) drew just $135,000 on 49 screens and $142,000 including previews for Transmission.

Released by Magnum, Chasing the Dragon, a Hong Kong crime actioner starring Donnie Yen and Andy Lau from directors Jason Kwan and Wong Jing, mustered a solid $125,000 at 17 screens.

Japanese director Nobuyuki Takeuchi’s animated drama/fantasy/romance Fireworks fizzled, making $77,000 on 46 screens for Madman.