blade runner 2049 short film prequel

Blade Runner 2049 is less than a month away and it’s fairly remarkable how little we actually know about this movie. Denis Villeneuve‘s sequel to Ridley Scott’s science fiction classic has been holding its plot cards close the vest, with the trailers offering up stunning imagery and a vague shape of a story instead of telling us exactly what to expect. It’s a breath of fresh air, to be perfectly honest.

With only a few weeks left before it hits theaters, expect to start seeing more Blade Runner 2049 headlines as Warner Bros. enters full marketing blitz mode. For now, let’s take a look at a new prequel short highlighting the character played by Dave Bautista, the current box office tracking for the film, and IMAX’s big plan to sell you on paying premium prices to watch this on an enormous screen.

Meet Dave Bautista’s Sapper

Let’s get started with the short film, titled 2048: Nowhere to Run, which focuses on Sapper, played by Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista. Set one year before the events of the film, this brisk prequel reveals that life has not gotten any better for replicants in the decades since the first movie. On the run and in hiding, Sapper scrapes by on the rainy, grimy, neon-lit streets of Los Angeles, befriending the locals and making his fair share of enemies. And because he’s a righteous fellow with the strength of a killer robot built to serve man, he finds himself in a bit of a violent situation.

You can watch the short, which was directed by Luke Scott (the son of Ridley Scott) below.

While I’ve always enjoyed Bautista as a screen presence, I’m genuinely impressed by his work here. It’s not easy for a former professional wrestler with an established “tough guy” persona to play vulnerable, but that’s just what he does. We know from the trailers that Sapper has a run-in with Ryan Gosling’s Officer K, but hopefully we get to see more of the soul on display here before the fisticuffs begin.

This is actually the second in a trilogy of Denis Villeneuve-approved shorts. The first was Nexus Dawn: 2036, which offered background on Jared Leto’s character.

Box Office Tracking

It’s a given that the nerds are all excited for Blade Runner 2049, but what about regular audiences? You know, the people who are actually necessary to make a movie hit? After all, the original Blade Runner was a box office disappointment in its day, only achieving its prestigious status following years of critical re-evaluation (and several director’s cuts).

Variety reports that Blade Runner 2049 is currently tracking for a $40 million opening, which is…fine. You know that Warner Bros. wants it to be double that number, but 163-minute long, R-rated sequels to movies that took a long time to catch on with mainstream audiences are a tough sell. Sure, the people who read movie websites, the people who hear “shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins” and lose their minds with excitement, are primed by the trailers, but what about real (i.e., boring) people? What does Blade Runner even mean to mainstream audiences in 2017? I’m genuinely curious to find out.

If Blade Runner 2049 is good (and man, I sure hope it’s good), I can imagine it taking advantage of the blockbuster-barren October and making a ton of money. After all, the success of It this past week proves that people above the age of 17 are all about longer than average, adults-only genre fare…when it’s good.

IMAX Gives You the Hard Sell

If you’re going watch a science fiction movie directed by Denis Villeneuve and shot by Roger Deakins, why not watch it on the biggest screen possible? IMAX has released this hilariously overwrought teaser video announcing that audiences who shell out premium ticket costs will get a version of the film “specially formatted for IMAX screens.” Specifically, IMAX presentations will feature 26% more image, projected in an expanded 1.9:1 aspect ratio.

And while you ponder the thought of watching Blade Runner 2049 on the biggest screens in the world, feast your eyes on these hideous posters cooked up by a marketing intern in two minutes because they were in a rush and wanted to beat traffic.

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