The Silver Lining, by Tyler Smith
Much has been made of Blade Runner 2049‘s less-than-stellar box office this weekend. Bringing in only $31.5 million, the film is falling short of expectations. Many are calling the film a flat-out bomb, which is unfortunate, given how effective the film actually is. It’s possible that word-of-mouth and ecstatic reviews might help it build a little bit, but opening weekend is everything to a big budget film like this. And that same word-of-mouth is also talking about how long and slow the film is, as opposed to the action spectacle that the trailers hint at, which probably isn’t helping. Either way, it’s looking like the film is going to be approached in the future as a beautiful, big budget, critically-praised failure, carrying on the Blade Runner legacy in more ways than just the artistic. Perhaps the film will find an audience on Blu Ray.
Despite all of this, however, I’m a little bit encouraged. Despite its low returns, Blade Runner 2049 was still number 1 at the box office, followed by Hany Abu-Assad’s The Mountain Between Us, starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. When I saw that, I was a little excited. Though neither film brought in a ton of money, it’s nice to see the top two slots occupied by movies for adults. And while I understand that Blade Runner was most certainly marketed for as wide an audience as possible, using its sci fi tropes to bring people in, The Mountain Between Us is a grown-up tale of survival and dependence. The film may not have gotten very good reviews, but the fact that a fairly simple movie – albeit with something of a high concept premise – about two adults trying to fight the elements, and growing closer together as a result, is doing well is exciting to me.
Added to this, other films in the top ten include Victoria and Abdul, starring Judi Dench, and Battle of the Sexes. It’s always encouraging when films like this find any kind of audience, however small. We’re so used to seeing the top ten filled with comic book movies, manic animated films, and unnecessary remakes that to see a few mature movies sneak in there is pleasing.
I know this is going to make me sound like an old man, but there was once a time when a movie like Rain Man could be the highest grossing film of the year. Those days are long gone, and I have no expectation of them coming back, but it’s always nice to see a slight flicker of what used to be, when going to the movies wasn’t merely for males age 18-35.