Blade Runner 2049″ is heading for a downbeat $31.5 million opening weekend at 4,058 sites in North America. Sunday’s

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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049” is heading for a downbeat $31.5 million opening weekend at 4,058 sites in North America.

Sunday’s estimated result throws serious doubt onto what had been high hopes for a box office success story. In one of the most surprising turnarounds in recent years, “Blade Runner 2049” fell far short of expectations, which had been in the $45 million to $50 million range at the start of the weekend amid stellar reviews, strong advance ticket sales, and the revered status of 1982’s original “Blade Runner.”

Instead, the film grossed only a moderate $12.7 million on Friday, including $4 million from Thursday night previews. Saturday saw an 11% decline to $11.4 million and Sunday’s projected total was $7.4 million.

The key factors for the under-performance were the movie’s 163-minute running time — which limits the number of showings each day — plus far less traction among younger moviegoers than anticipated.

“The core of enthusiastic and loyal ‘Blade Runner’ fans were over 25 and predominantly male and propelled the film as expected to the top spot, but a lengthy running time and lesser interest among females made it tougher for the film to reach the original weekend box office projections,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore

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