Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, though critically acclaimed, didn’t do so hot at the box office. The visually dazzling, cerebral and slow-moving sci-fi epic has grossed a mere $258 million worldwide—including just $91.5 million in the U.S.—to date (per Box Office Mojo), against a $300 million production and marketing budget. That is, as they say in the biz, not good.
Now, in an interview with Al Arabiya (via ScreenRant) published Wednesday, original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott has offered his thoughts on where Blade Runner 2049 went wrong. Scott, who served as a producer on Villeneuve’s film, said simply, “It’s slow. It’s slow. Long. Too long. I would have taken out half an hour.”
Sure enough, Blade Runner 2049 clocked in at a strenuous two hours and 32 minutes (not counting credits), while Scott’s 1982 original was 35 minutes shorter at one hour and 57 minutes.
Villeneuve himself has acknowledged previously that Blade Runner 2049’s extensive run time may have played a part in its box-office bust-dom. Speaking to Yahoo! Entertainment in November, the flummoxed director reflected:
I’m still digesting it. It had the best [reviews] of my life. I never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time, the box office in the United States was a disappointment, that’s the truth, because those movies are expensive. It will still make tons of money but not enough. The thing I think is that, it was maybe because people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact the movie’s long. I don’t know, it’s still a mystery to me.
“I make movies, I don’t sell them,” Villeneuve added.
To be fair, the original Blade Runner, though today praised as a feat of science-fiction filmmaking, didn’t exactly set the box office ablaze, and was criticized in much the same way that Blade Runner 2049 has been. One review called Scott’s film “a very dark and far too long thriller with many dull moments that would serve the film better by moving along a bit faster.” Regardless, Blade Runner was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, another area in which we imagine Villeneuve’s film will follow in the original’s footsteps.
Read our review of Blade Runner 2049, which Paste’s Dom Sinacola calls “an astounding achievement,” right here. The film is out now on digital, and due out on Blu-Ray and DVD on Jan. 16, 2018.