Has Blade Runner 2049’s failure killed off the smart sci-fi blockbuster?

Despite fantastic reviews, Denis Villeneuve’s brainy, big-budget sequel has not made enough money to launch a new universe at the multiplex
• WARNING: This article contains plot spoilers for Blade Runner 2049

If there was ever a movie to leave you wanting more, it is Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. In a large part that’s because the Canadian film-maker chose to plunge so far down the futuristic rabbit hole without revealing enough of this mesmerising sci-fi wonderland’s darkest secrets. After almost three breathless hours of pulsating dystopian thrills, we are no closer to filling in many of the gaps in Ridley Scott’s original 1982 dystopian masterwork. Is Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard a replicant? What do the off-world colonies look like? Are androids the next stage in human evolution, or merely useful gifts for the 21st-century sociopath who has everything?

What’s more, we suddenly have dozens of new puzzles to solve. Is Carla Juri’s Dr Ana Stelline Deckard’s biological daughter, and can she ever leave that giant glass dome? Who will win the battle for control over the first naturally born replicant – Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace, or Hiam Abbass’s one-eyed robo-insurgent Freysa? Will Deckard and Ana ever restore their father-daughter bond, given he abandoned her to that awful orphanage as a small child?

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