Pre-release buzz evaporates as 'Blade Runner 2049' looks to come up short

    HARRISON FORD as Rick Deckard in Alcon Entertainment's sci fi thriller "BLADE RUNNER 2049," a Warner Bros. Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment release, domestic distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures and international distribution by Sony Pictures. (Photo: Courtesy of Alcon Entertainment)

    Early weekend estimates are in and they aren’t pretty. “Blade Runner 2049” will sit atop the domestic box office as expected, but its estimated $35 million is well short of the $45 million Warner Bros. was predicting.

    The film, which brought back Harrison Ford, screenwriter Hampton Fancher and a handful of other surprises from the original cult classic seemed destined for moderate success. Reviews have been glowing and pre-sales were strong, but the film’s weekend earnings proved to be frontloaded. The sequel, which features Ryan Gosling in a leading role and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Sicario”) in the director’s chair, apparently didn’t appeal to mainstream audiences.

    However, the international numbers appear to be slightly better and should add $50 million to the film’s total. Still, no one would have predicted that the film would close its opening weekend with less than $100 million worldwide.

    There’s a chance that Saturday’s numbers will be more robust or that Sunday plays stronger than you’d expect, but the odds are that “Blade Runner 2049” is going to need to have long legs at the box office or a massive international bump to be profitable.

    Lionsgate’s animated “My Little Pony” film looks to finish the weekend with $10 million with Fox’s “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, close behind.

    There is a chance that “It” will wiggle its way past “The Mountain Between Us,” but even if the film stays in fourth place it will pass the $300 million mark domestically.

    Look for Tom Cruise’s “American Made” and Fox’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” to fight it out for fifth place with both coming in with around $8 million.

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