7 marketing lessons from ‘Blade Runner 2049’

The sequel to 1982’s popular science-fiction film was highly anticipated, but its box-office performance has been lackluster. Here’s how you can avoid similar promotional pitfalls.

Though highly anticipated by fans, “Blade Runner 2049” has flopped at the box office.

The sequel to the cult favorite “Blade Runner” stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, along with other A-list actors such as Jared Leto and Robyn Wright.

DigitalTrends.com reported:

In an era where studios relentlessly plunder the tombs of movies past, always looking for the next successful remake or reboot, few revivals have caused as much trepidation and excitement as Blade Runner 2049.

However, it opened to lackluster numbers, bringing in roughly $31 million in its recent debut in the United States and Canada.

Here are several marketing insights you can glean from “Blade Runner 2049’s” promotional derailment:

1. Less is more. Clocking in at 2 hours and 43 minutes, the film’s run time might scare moviegoers away.

Brand managers should remember that audiences have a short attention span, so briefer marketing efforts might play better with consumers.

2. Reviews aren’t everything. The film is garnering strong word-of-mouth reviews and an 88 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has also won over critics. However, it’s not translating into revenue.

The lesson: Reviews don’t always matter. If your product, service or organization carries enough negatives, a positive buzz won’t save your campaign.

3. Watch your competition. Some speculate that “It” stole potential viewers of “Blade Runner 2049.” The Stephen King adaptation outperformed projections, banking more than $600 million in its run so far. For those who only go to the theater occasionally, this can cut into “Blade Runner 2049’s” ticket sales.

Marketers, time your launch when your competition is quiet.

4. Appeal to several audiences. Critics say that “Blade Runner 2049” holds little appeal for women, with its core audience skewing toward men over the age of 25. Warner Bros. said that 71 percent of opening-weekend ticket buyers were male.

“I’m disappointed,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. “The real trick now is to expand the audience past older men.”

Jezebel’s Aimée Lutkin wrote:

Movies in general did pretty bad this summer, with the exception of Patty Jenkins’s flick and It. Make Pennywise a woman and you have your next smash hit. You’re welcome, Hollywood. Coming up behind Blade Runner 2049 at the box office was The Mountain Between Us, which brought in $10 million, and cost only $35 million to make. The marketing for that film was all over the place, and it is reportedly terrible, but it appealed to a heterosexual woman’s interest in watching Idris Elba for two hours.

Unless you’re sure a narrow audience will boost your campaign’s ROI and your organization’s bottom line, aim for wider appeal.

5. Pique consumers’ interest. Some blame the film’s generic trailers, which didn’t give away many secrets, for its lackluster opening. That move was probably due to “Blade Runner 2049’s” creators trying to keep plot details under wraps.

Though marketers might want to keep some secrets close to the vest, perhaps a teaser before the product is launched revealing enough to whet the buyer’s appetite is in order. Otherwise, why should consumers be excited?

6. Build on a hit. The original “Blade Runner” carries with it a loyal fan base, but it was never a box-office smash.

Are you creating add-on of follow-up products and services? Take a hard look at what came before—and consequent successes—to ensure a product or service warrants a sequel.

7. Timing matters. It’s been 35 years since “Blade Runner” hit theaters. Many are too young to have seen the original and won’t be interested in a sequel. For others, it might have been too long ago.

If you’re planning a second version your product or service, release it before consumers lose interest.

What lessons would you add, PR Daily readers?

Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn.

(Image via)


PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.