Based off early evening estimates, Alcon/Sony’s Blade Runner 2049 via Warner Bros. is looking at a Thursday night in the vicinity of $3.5M. As we always footnote on these uber-early estimates, that number can go higher or lower, but there’s a feeling that ticket sales could push to $4M by the end of tonight. Note, this evening forecast does not come from Warner Bros.
Blade Runner 2049 started previews at 7PM tonight and expands to 4,058 theaters tomorrow.
Should Blade Runner 2049 hit these projections, it will be close to the preview nights of such cult sci-fi franchises as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($4.1M), Mad Max: Fury Road ($3.7M), Prometheus ($3.56M off 1,368 midnight showtimes). But most of all, Blade Runner 2049‘s Thursday night would be higher than The Martian ($2.5M) and Gravity ($1.4M off 10PM and midnight shows). Gravity and The Martian hold respectively the top two openings for October with $55.8M and $54.3M. It’s way too early to project whether Blade Runner 2049 gets that high. For the last four weeks tracking has had the Denis Villeneuve directed, Ridley Scott executive produced sequel in the mid $40M range.
Reviews have been spectacular for Blade Runner 2049 at 90% Certified fresh. Ditto for advance ticket sales. On Fandango, Blade Runner 2049 is outpacing Mad Max: Fury Road, Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar and Prometheus prior to opening weekend. Movietickets.com was also showing a similar streak with Blade Runner 2049 clicking ahead of Villeneuve’s previous film Arrival by 6x and last summer’s War for the Planet of the Apes ($56.3M opening) by 3x.
Gravity posted a first day of $17.48M back on Oct. 4, 2013 while The Martian earned $18.1M. However neither title holds October’s record opening day; that belongs to Paramount/Blumhouse’s Paranormal Activity 3 which cleared $26.3M and went on to post a three-day of $52.6M, the third best debut for the month.
Blade Runner 2049 is another big budget gamble for Alcon Entertainment following such $100M-plus budgeted pics Transcendence and Point Break and cash cows like Oscar winner The Blind Side ($29M production cost, $309.2M global B.O.). Sony co-financed Blade Runner 2049 which reportedly carries a net production cost of $155M (some believe it’s higher) before P&A. Sony is opening the sequel in 61% of all foreign territories this weekend sans South Korea, China and Japan. Sony’s contribution to the bottom line before tax credits and rebates is figured at $90M. Warner Bros. is getting a domestic distribution fee around 10%. Originally, this project fired up six years ago when Alcon heads Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson secured franchise rights from Bud and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin including TV and ancillaries. In sum, it took a village to make this sequel to Scott’s 1982 film happen.