Ridley Scott’s visually-stunning and narratively sparse 1982 film Blade Runner wasn’t much of a hit at the time of its release, but it has since become one of the pillars of science fiction filmmaking, thanks in no small part to the amazing and influential design work. Talk of a sequel had been going around for years and years until 2014 when it actually became a real thing, to be directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario). That all sounds great, right? Well, now we know a release date for the film, as revealed in a press release from Alcon Entertainment.
So, Blade Runner 2 will hit theaters on January 12, 2018. This does not fill me with confidence. Even though the movie isn’t scheduled to enter production until July, the studio is already saddling it with one of the worst release weekends of the year, or any year. Traditionally, the first couple weeks of January are home to films the studios need to burn off; they usually aren’t great and they tend to not make very much money, since people are still seeing the big holiday or awards movies. And let us remember, this means it’ll open just weeks after Star Wars: Episode VIII, which you’d think would take most of the sci-fi box office well into the new year. Is Warner Bros already selling the movie short or will this film fill the Harrison Ford-shaped gap in our sci-fi movie-loving hearts?
What does fill me with confidence is the filmmaking pedigree behind the lens. In addition to Villeneuve directing — which I think could be really dynamic given the look of films like Sicario, Prisoners, and Enemy — Ridley Scott is returning to produce. The original film’s co-writer Hampton Fancher is penning the screenplay, and Harrison Ford will return as the O.G. Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, for some amount of time. Oh, and Ryan Gosling is attached to star. The original’s look was a huge part of its appeal, and unfortunately the cinematographer of that movie, Jordan Cronenweth, passed away in 1996, BUT they’ve signed Roger Deakins to shoot the new one, and he’s only the best working today.
There’s great potential here all around, and again, they haven’t even started production in earnest yet. It all just makes the January 12 release date all the weirder. This has summer flick or even mid-autumn romp all over it. Now it’s coming out the same time Mortdecai did in 2015. Baffling.
What do you make of Blade Runner 2‘s strange choice of timing? Is there a greater replicant scheme at work? In the meantime, let us know in the comments below!
HT: Alcon Entertainment
Images: Warner Bros
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!