Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, and Jared Leto in supporting roles. Set thirty years after the first film, Gosling plays K, a replicant (bioengineered human) who hunts rogue replicants. When he discovers evidence that a replicant has reproduced, he is tasked with destroying the child to prevent a replicant uprising.
Principal photography took place between July and November 2016, mainly in Budapest, Hungary. Blade Runner 2049 premiered in Los Angeles on October 3, 2017 and was released in the United States on October 6, 2017, in 2D, 3D and IMAX and critics praised its performances, direction, cinematography, musical score, production design, and faithfulness to the original film. It has grossed $256 million worldwide, with budget estimates ranging from $150–$185 million.
|Blade Runner 2049|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Denis Villeneuve|
|Story by||Hampton Fancher|
|Based on||Characters from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
|Edited by||Joe Walker|
|Box office||$256.8 million|
In 2049, replicants (bioengineered humans) have been integrated into society as servants and slaves. One replicant known as "K" works for the LAPD as a "Blade Runner", an agent who hunts down and "retires" (eliminates) rogue replicants. He lives with his holographic girlfriend Joi, an artificial intelligence product of the replicant manufacturer Wallace Corporation.
After K retires the rogue replicant Sapper Morton, he finds a box buried on Morton's farm containing bodily remains; forensic analysis reveals they are the remains of a female replicant who died during an emergency caesarean section, contradicting the belief that replicants are sterile. Fearful that this knowledge could lead to war between humans and replicants, K's superior Lieutenant Joshi orders K to destroy the evidence and retire the replicant child.
K visits the Wallace Corporation headquarters, where the deceased female is identified from DNA archives as Rachael, an experimental replicant designed by Dr. Tyrell. K learns of Rachael's romantic ties with former blade runner Rick Deckard. The CEO, Niander Wallace, wants to discover the secret to replicant reproduction to expand interstellar colonization, and sends his replicant enforcer Luv to steal Rachael's remains from LAPD headquarters and follow K to Rachael's child.
Returning to Morton's farm, K finds the date 6-10-21 carved into a dead tree trunk over Rachael's burial place, and recognizes it from a childhood memory of a wooden toy horse. As replicants' memories are implanted, Joi believes this is evidence that K was born and not created as a replicant. Searching records, K discovers twins born on that date with identical DNA except for the sex chromosome, but only the boy is listed as alive. K tracks the child to an orphanage in ruined San Diego, but discovers the records from that year have been removed. K recognizes the orphanage from his memories, and finds the toy horse where he remembers hiding it.
K seeks out Dr. Ana Stelline, a designer of replicant memories, who confirms that his memory of the orphanage is real. K concludes that he is Rachael's son. After K fails an LAPD obedience test, he decides to flee, and transfers Joi to a mobile emitter on her request. He has the toy horse analyzed, revealing traces of radiation that lead him to the ruins of Las Vegas. There he finds Deckard, who reveals that he is the father of Rachael's child and that he scrambled the birth records to protect the child's identity; Deckard left the child in the custody of the replicant freedom movement.
After killing Joshi, Luv and her men track K to Deckard's location. They kidnap Deckard, destroy Joi and leave K to die. K is rescued by the replicant freedom movement, whose leader Freysa informs him that Rachael's child is female. To prevent Deckard leading Wallace to the child or the freedom movement, Freysa asks K to kill Deckard. Deckard is brought before Wallace, who offers him a clone of Rachael for information. When Deckard refuses, Luv kills the Rachael clone, and escorts Deckard off-world to be interrogated.
K intercepts Deckard's captors and kills Luv, but is severely injured in the fight. He stages Deckard's death to protect him from Wallace and the replicants, and leads Deckard to Stelline's office, having deduced that she is his daughter and that the memory of the toy horse is hers. K lies down and looks up into the sky, dying peacefully from his injuries, while Deckard approaches Stelline.
On March 3, 2011, it was reported that Alcon Entertainment, a production company financed by Warner Bros., was "in final discussions to secure film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic 1982 science-fiction thriller Blade Runner." It was also reported that month that Christopher Nolan was desired as director.
On August 18, 2011, it was announced that Ridley Scott would lead the production of a new Blade Runner film, although work would not begin until at least 2013. Producer Andrew A. Kosove suggested that Harrison Ford, who had starred in the original film, was unlikely to be involved. Scott said that the film was "liable to be a sequel" but without the previous cast, and that he was close to finding a writer who "might be able to help [him] deliver". On February 6, 2012, Kosove stated: "It is absolutely, patently false that there has been any discussion about Harrison Ford being in Blade Runner. To be clear, what we are trying to do with Ridley now is go through the painstaking process of trying to break the back of the story ... The casting of the movie could not be further from our minds at this moment." When Scott was asked about the possibility of a sequel in October 2012, he said, "It's not a rumor—it's happening. With Harrison Ford? I don't know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don't know how long he can live. And that's all I'm going to say at this stage."
Scott said in November 2014 that he would not direct the film and would instead produce; that filming would begin in late 2014 or 2015, and that Ford's character would only appear in "the third act" of the sequel. On February 26, 2015, the sequel was confirmed, with Denis Villeneuve as its director. Ford was confirmed to be returning as Deckard; so too Hampton Fancher, one of the two writers of the original film. The film was expected to enter production in mid-2016.
On April 16, 2015, Ryan Gosling entered negotiations for a role. Gosling confirmed in November 2015 that he had been cast, citing the involvement of Villeneuve and the cinematographer Roger Deakins as factors for his decision; Deakins was hired as director of photography on May 20, 2016. Principal photography was set to begin in July, with Warner Bros. distributing the film domestically, and Sony Pictures Releasing distributing internationally. On February 18, 2016, an official release date of January 12, 2018 was announced.
On March 31, 2016, Robin Wright entered final negotiations for a role in the film, and on April 2, Dave Bautista posted a picture of himself with an origami unicorn, hinting at a role in the film. Bautista and Wright were confirmed to be joining the cast on April 4, and a filming start date of July was established. In late April 2016, the film's release date was moved up to October 6, 2017, as well as Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks being added to the cast. Carla Juri was cast in May 2016. In June, Mackenzie Davis and Barkhad Abdi were cast, with David Dastmalchian, Hiam Abbass and Lennie James joining in July. Jared Leto was cast in the film in August; Villeneuve had hoped to cast David Bowie, but Bowie died before production began. In March 2017, Edward James Olmos confirmed he was in the film in a sequence playing his original character, Gaff.
When interviewed at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, Villeneuve had noted that the plot would be ambiguous as to the question of Deckard being a human or a replicant. In an interview, Villeneuve mentioned that the film is set a few decades after the original. It would again take place in Los Angeles, and the Earth's atmosphere would be different, he said: "The climate has gone berserk – the ocean, the rain, the snow is all toxic." It was announced that Scott would be executive producer.
Principal photography took place between July and November 2016, mainly at Korda Studios and Origo Studios in Budapest, Hungary. For the casino scenes, the old Stock Exchange Palace in Budapest's Liberty Square (Budapest) served as a filming location.
On August 25, 2016, a construction worker was killed while dismantling one of the film's sets at Origo Studios.
Warner Bros. announced in early October 2016 that the film would be titled Blade Runner 2049. Editing commenced in December in Los Angeles, with the intention of having the film being rated R. At the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, Villeneuve said that the film would run for approximately two-and-a-half hours.
Rapper-producer El-P was asked to compose music for the first Blade Runner 2049 trailer, but his score was "rejected or ignored". Jóhann Jóhannsson, who had worked with Villeneuve on Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival, was initially announced as composer for the film. However, Villeneuve and Jóhannsson decided to end the collaboration because Villeneuve considered the film "needed something different, and I needed to go back to something closer to Vangelis's soundtrack". New composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch joined in July 2017. In September, Jóhannsson's agent confirmed that he was no longer involved and that he was contractually forbidden from commenting on the situation.
Blade Runner 2049 premiered on October 3, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, although following the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting, the red carpet events were cancelled prior to the screening. It was the opening feature at the Festival du nouveau cinéma in Montreal the following day. It also was premiered in Switzerland at the Zurich Film Festival on October 4, 2017.
Sony Pictures Releasing, who had obtained rights to release the film in overseas territories, was the first to release Blade Runner 2049 in theaters, first in France and Belgium on October 4, 2017, then in other countries on the two following days. The film was released by Warner Bros. domestically in the United States on October 6, 2017. In addition to standard 2D and 3D formats, Blade Runner 2049 was released in IMAX theaters. Also, Alcon Entertainment partnered with Oculus VR to create and distribute content for the film exclusively for its virtual reality format and launched it alongside the theatrical release of October 6, 2017.
Due to the popularity and preference of IMAX in 2D (as opposed to 3D) among filmgoers in North America, the film was shown in IMAX theaters in only 2D domestically, but was screened in 3D formats internationally.
The film is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language". Leading into the film's release, Villeneuve told Europa Plus the theatrical version would be his only version, unlike the original, and any potential alternate versions would be made by someone else.
Warner Bros. and Columbia Pictures jointly released an announcement teaser on December 19, 2016. A selection of excerpts (lasting 15 seconds) were released as a trailer tease on May 5, 2017 in the lead up to the full trailer, which was released on May 8, 2017. A second trailer was released on July 17, 2017.
Three short films have been made to explore events that occur in the 30-year period between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049:
Spirit distiller Johnnie Walker made a limited edition Scotch Whisky called Black Label The Director's Cut, created by Master Blender Jim Beveridge in collaboration with Denis Villeneuve. The experimental blend comes in a futuristic bottle.
The DVD and Blu-ray release for the film is scheduled for January 16, 2018. Netflix and Redbox distribution is set for January 23, 2018.
As of December 7, 2017, Blade Runner 2049 had grossed $91 million in the United States and Canada, and $165.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $256.8 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was initially projected to gross $43–47 million in its opening weekend. In September 2017, a survey from Fandango indicated that the film was one of the most anticipated releases of the season. It made $4 million from Thursday night previews, including $800,000 from IMAX, but just $12.6 million on its first day, lowering weekend estimates to $32–35 million. It made $11.4 million on Saturday and went on to debut to $32.8 million, well below initial projections but still finishing first at the box office and marking the biggest openings of Villeneuve and Gosling's careers. Regarding the opening weekend, director Villeneuve said, "It's a mystery. All the indexes and marketing tools they were using predicted that it would be a success. The film was acclaimed by critics. So everyone expected the first weekend’s results to be impressive, and they were shocked. They still don't understand."
Deadline.com attributed the film's performance to the 163-minute runtime limiting the number of showtimes theaters could have, lack of appeal to mainstream audiences, and the marketing being vague and relying on nostalgia and established fanbase to carry it. In its second weekend, the film dropped 52.7% to $15.5 million, finishing second behind newcomer Happy Death Day ($26 million) and dropped another 54% in its third weekend to $7.2 million, finishing in 4th behind Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Geostorm and Happy Death Day.
Overseas, it was expected to debut to an additional $60 million, for a worldwide opening of around $100 million. The debut ended up making $50.2 million internationally, finishing number one in 45 markets, for a global opening of $81.7 million. It made $8 million in the United Kingdom, $4.9 million in Russia, $1.8 million in Brazil and $3.6 million in Australia. It debuted in China on October 27, and made $7.7 million in its opening weekend.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 87% based on 331 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Visually stunning and narratively satisfying, Blade Runner 2049 deepens and expands its predecessor's story while standing as an impressive filmmaking achievement in its own right." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Critics who saw the film before its release were asked by Villeneuve not to reveal certain characters and plot points. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it an instant classic and writing: "For Blade Runner junkies like myself, who've mainlined five different versions of Ridley Scott's now iconic sci-fi film noir, [...] every minute of this mesmerizing mindbender is a visual feast to gorge on." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five stars, praising the production design, cinematography and score, and calling the CGI some of the best he had ever seen, writing: "It just has to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. Blade Runner 2049 is a narcotic spectacle of eerie and pitiless vastness, by turns satirical, tragic and romantic." A. O. Scott of The New York Times described the film as "a carefully engineered narrative puzzle" that "tries both to honor the original and to slip free of its considerable shadow", and mostly succeeds. He found it, though, ultimately unequal to the original, describing Blade Runner 2049 as "a more docile, less rebellious 'improvement'". He also lauded Villeneuve's direction to which he attributed an "unnerving calm, as if he were exploring and trying to synthesize the human and mechanical sides of his own sensibility", as well as the cinematography and visual effects, which he describes as "zones of strangeness that occasionally rise to the level of sublimity".
Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film an A- rating, saying: "Blade Runner 2049 may not reinvent the rules for blockbuster storytelling, but it manages to inject the form with the ambitions of high art, maintaining a thrilling intensity along the way." Scott Collura of IGN awarded the film a score of 9.7 out of 10 and called it one of the best sequels ever, saying: "2049 plays off of the themes, plot, and characters of the 1982 movie without cannibalizing it or negating or retroactively ruining any of those elements. Rather, it organically expands and grows what came before. It's a deep, rich, smart film that's visually awesome and full of great sci-fi concepts, and one that was well worth the 35-year wait." Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicle rated the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, labeling the film as a "quiet, thoughtful science fiction" while drawing a similarity on its tone to Villeneuve's recent film, Arrival and praising the performances, particularly Gosling and Ford.
Christopher Orr writing for The Atlantic found the sequel to be a faithful and worthwhile continuation of the original film stating: "This is in part because, like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049 is a decidedly cool artifact, and not primarily an actors' film. Villeneuve's most important collaborators are the cinematographer Roger Deakins and the production designer Dennis Gassner, who between them conjure a future world breathtaking in its decrepitude, a gorgeous ruin. From the grayed-out countrysides over which the sky has closed like a lid; to the drizzly neon decadence of Los Angeles; to a San Diego refashioned as a waste dump worthy of WALL-E; to the Ozymandian wreckage of Las Vegas—the film is a splendor of the first order." Graeme Virtue, in The Guardian stated that the film's "impact is never at the expense of visual comprehension. Characters may crash through walls but it is never unclear where those walls are in relation to the mayhem. These occasional jolts of intensity do not snap us out of the film's hypnotic spell, which remains persuasive enough to make the 163-minute duration feel like something to luxuriate in rather than an endurance test."
John Serba in his review for Mlive also saw the film as a worthy successor and continuation of the original film and capable of standing next to other strong films in this genre such as the 1927 Metropolis, stating: "Blade Runner 2049 is a feast for the eyes and intellect, and for more patient audiences. It broods so intently and for so long, its occasional bursts of violent action break the film's exquisitely meditative constitution. A key atmospheric component is the thrumming synthesizer score, by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, emulating Vangelis' masterful original."
Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post put emphasis on the depiction of the villain-aspects of the industrialist played by Jared Leto stating: "In the world of 2049, there are now two kinds of replicants, in addition to people: the old, rogue versions, and a newer, more subservient variety designed by a godlike industrialist (Jared Leto portraying Wallace), who refers to his products, tellingly, as good and bad 'angels.'"
The Economist was more critical of the film, calling it a "bombastic sequel" and noting its "thin and threadbare" storyline, which was "riddled with holes", and the "little more than a cameo" appearance of Ford, despite his being used heavily in the film's promotion. Kevin Maher of The Times gave it three of five stars, claiming "a more devastatingly beautiful blockbuster has yet to be made", but concluding that the plot was lackluster.
Reviewing the film for Vice.com, Charlotte Gush was critical of the film's portrayal of women, who she said were "either prostitutes, holographic housewives" or victims dying brutal deaths. While acknowledging that "misogyny was part of the dystopia" in Scott's 1982 original, she stated that the sequel was "flat, emotionless, nonsensical, and eye-gougingly sexist". Writing in one of the reviews of the film in The Guardian, Anna Smith expressed similar concerns, stating that "sexualised images of women dominate the stunning futuristic cityscapes" and questioned whether the film heavily catered toward heterosexual men, but also said that "While some women are questioning whether or not they should see the new film, I would not suggest boycotting it for its depiction of women. That audiences today are alert to discussing depictions of female characters in film is progress in itself. But it is worth thinking about whether this is the future we want for women in film. I hope Blade Runner 2049 gets its own sequel: there is the raw material for a much more nuanced depiction of gender relations. And perhaps a woman could write or direct the next one, too." Rachael Kaines of Moviepilot however commented that "The gender politics in Blade Runner 2049 are intentional. The movie is about secondary citizens. Replicants. Orphans. Women. Slaves. Just by depicting these secondary citizens in subjugation doesn't mean that it is supportive of these depictions — they are a condemnation. The future in Blade Runner 2049 is not now the future we are heading to, but the future we were heading to when Phillip K Dick wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Ridley Scott made the original movie. Blade Runner 2049 is the perfect place to examine the out of date portrayal of women, because, whilst we like to think we have completely moved on, that attitude is still prevalent in society."
Helen Lewis of the New Statesman suggested that "Blade Runner 2049 is an uneasy feminist parable about controlling the means of reproduction" and that "Its villain, Niander Wallace, is consumed by rage that women can do something he cannot" and concluded that "Fertility is the perfect theme for the dystopia of Blade Runner 2049, because of the western elite anxiety that over-educated, over-liberated women are having fewer children, or choosing to opt out of childbearing altogether. (One in five women is now childless by the age of 45; the rates are higher among women who have been to university.) Feminism is one potential solution to this problem: removing the barriers which make women feel that motherhood is a closing of doors. Another is to take flight, and find another exploitable class to replace human females ... Maybe androids don't dream of electric sheep, but some human men certainly dream of electric wombs."
In response, director Villeneuve stated: "I am very sensitive to how I portray women in movies. This is my ninth feature film and six of them have women in the lead role. The first Blade Runner was quite rough on the women; something about the film noir aesthetic. But I tried to bring depth to all the characters. For Joi, the holographic character, you see how she evolves ... Cinema is a mirror on society. Blade Runner is not about tomorrow; it’s about today. And I’m sorry, but the world is not kind on women."
Quoting from the Variety magazine breakdown of demographics representing viewers of the film, Donald Clarke for The Irish Times indicated that women audiences seemed alienated from the film stating: "Variety explains: 'Males over 25 represented 50 per cent of the audience and females over 25 were 27 per cent, while males under 25 represented 15 per cent of moviegoers and females under 25 were 8 per cent.' Hang on. Eight per cent? Cinema audiences are skewed towards the young and if such a tiny proportion of younger woman are interested in your picture then trouble awaits. Let’s call it Bro’ Runner 2049."
Esquire magazine commented on the controversial aspects of the sex scene in the film and compared it to other contemporary films such as those featuring Scarlett Johansson stating: "And this theme (of Joi's physical limitations) reaches its emotional peak during a strange and compelling sex scene that's essentially a robo-ménage à trois. In an effort to consummate their relationship physically, Joi hires Mackenzie Davis's Mariette, a "pleasure model" replicant, to act as a physical stand-in. Their bodies merge into one as Joi's hologram envelops Mariette's body—their faces melding, flickering from one to the other. They move in a sort of ghostly dance that's often a little out of sync, creating a mesmerizing four-armed tangle of limbs. From a pure visual and technical perspective, it's absolutely beautiful. And it's even rather poetic considering the themes director Denis Villeneuve explores throughout this weighty, nearly three-hour-long movie. But like the sex scene in the original film, this one will most definitely be controversial. For one thing, it's exactly the same concept as the sex scene between Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson (her voice, at least) in 2013's Her."
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|IndieWire Critic's Poll||December 19, 2016||Most Anticipated of 2017||Blade Runner 2049||Won|||
|Golden Trailer Awards||June 6, 2017||Best Teaser||Won|||
|Hollywood Film Awards||November 5, 2017||Producer Award||Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin||Won|||
|Cinematography Award||Roger Deakins||Won|
|Production Design Award||Dennis Gassner||Won|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2017||November 16, 2017||Best Original Score – Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Film||Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch||Nominated|||
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||December 8, 2017||Best Adapted Screenplay||Michael Green and Hampton Fancher||Nominated|||
|Best Production Design||Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola||Won|
|Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins||Won|
|Best Editing||Joe Walker||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer||Won|
|Critics Choice Awards||January 11, 2018||Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins||Pending|||
|Best Production Design||Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola|
|Best Editing||Joe Walker|
|Best Costume Design||Renée April|
|Best Visual Effects||Blade Runner 2049|
|Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie|
|Best Score||Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||January 12, 2018||Best Production Design||Dennis Gassner||Won|||
|Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins||Runner-up|
|Satellite Awards||February 10, 2018||Best Art Direction and Production Design||Blade Runner 2049||Pending|||
|Best Visual Effects|
|Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins|
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||December 10, 2017||Best Director||Denis Villeneuve||Pending|||
|Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins||Pending|
|Best Production Design||Dennis Gassner||Pending|
|Best Visual Effects||Blade Runner 2049||Pending|
|Best Score||Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer||Pending|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 12, 2017||Best Adapted Screenplay||Hampton Fancher, Michael Green||Pending|||
|Best Art Direction||Blade Runner 2049||Pending|
|Best Original Score||Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer||Pending|
|Best Cinematography||Roger Deakins||Pending|
During the promotional tour for the 2015 film The Martian, Scott expressed interest in making additional Blade Runner films. In October 2017, Villeneuve said that he expected a third film would be made if 2049 was successful. Fancher, who wrote both films, said he was considering reviving an old story idea involving Deckard travelling to another country. Ford said that he would be open to returning if he liked the script.