Four months after the release of “Blade Runner 2049,” director Denis Villeneuve is still weighing in on his critically acclaimed sequel. The movie was a box office bomb in the United States, failing to cross the $100 million mark despite a production and marketing budget that many estimate to be over $300 million. The project is said to have cost Alcon Entertainment at least $80 million, and it’s not something Villeneuve is necessarily happy about.
In a new interview with The Telegraph, Villeneuve admits that he’ll probably never make a movie like “Blade Runner 2049” again after it proved to be such a financial risk. The director is incredibly proud of the film, which has earned five Oscar nominations, but he remembers realizing what a challenging release it would be when a producer turned to him four months into production and told him, “We’ve just made the most expensive art house movie in cinema history.”
“Let’s just say it would not be a good idea for me to make a movie like that twice,” Villeneuve said, referring to making a studio-funded tentpole with more avant-garde leanings. “When you’re working on a film you’re in a bubble, and it was only when I came out that I realized we had made a monster. I won’t do it again.”
Villeneuve originally told Vulture he supported Warner Bros.’ decision to keep the movie a mystery in the marketing. The film did not give away any plot details in trailers or clips and the studio decided to skip a fall festival premiere so that nobody would be able to spoil “2049” before its October 2018 theatrical release. But now Villeneuve admits that strategy provide tiresome, especially because he had to promote the film initially to reporters who hadn’t even seen it.
“I was really tired of talking about the film with journalists who hadn’t seen it,” he said. “And [the studio] wanted it to be a total secret, like ‘Star Wars.'” They didn’t want anyone to know a thing about it.”
Despite the movie’s failure to catch on with U.S. audiences, “2049” managed to pass the $150 mark at the international box office, giving the film a final international gross of $259 million. Villeneuve joked to The Telegraph that “Europe saved my ass.”
“Blade Runner 2049” is now available on Blu-Ray and On Demand. We’ll find out if the film wins any of its five Oscar nominations when the Academy Awards air Sunday, March 4.