Magazine article Screen International

Original 'Blade Runner' Producer: '2049' Running Time Is "Criminal"

Magazine article Screen International

Original 'Blade Runner' Producer: '2049' Running Time Is "Criminal"

Article excerpt

Michael Deeley, who produced the 1982 original, believes the 162-minute running time harmed the release.

Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve’s visually impressive Blade Runner: 2049 has garnered plenty of critical acclaim. However, much like Ridley Scott’s now iconic original, the film has underwhelmed at the box office in comparison to its $150m-plus budget.

Count Michael Deeley, producer of the 1982 classic, among the film’s sceptics - even before seeing it. “I’m not looking forward to seeing it,” the Oscar-winning producer told Screen. “But I will.”

Deeley, also known for producing classics The Deer Hunter, The Italian Job and The Man Who Fell To Earth, is among those to point out that the film’s 164-minute run time potentially hindered its box office. ”The picture is very long. It must have been cut-able and should have been. They can’t do better [box office] because they can’t play it more than three times a day because it’s just too long, which is of course self-indulgent at the very least, arrogant probably. It’s criminal.”

The sci-fi, which Warner Bros released domestically and Sony Pictures is handling internationally (the latter also co-financed with Alcon), cost an estimated $150m-$180m. Thus far, it has grossed $223m globally (including $81m in the US).

Outside of the US, its most successful territory is the UK, where takings are up to $21m. The film opened on October 27 in Japan and is due for release in China on November 10, with the two Asian markets key to its final gross and overall success.

Challenges on the original

According to Deeley, who was speaking to Screen to promote a new edition of his memoir Blade Runners, Deer Hunters And Blowing The Bloody Doors Off, the producer owned the remake and sequel rights to the original film for ten years but decided against doing so in part because of its mixed critical reception, underwhelming box office and his challenging relationship with executive producers Bud Yorkin and Jerry Perenchio.

“The film didn’t catch fire for ten years so I couldn’t have made a remake or another version of it and I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway.”

“It was all very sticky,” he said of the production process, which saw original financier Filmways drop out after the film’s budget ballooned.

The film’s release wasn’t much easier. …

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