When the running time of Blade Runner 2049 clocked in at nearly three hours, early reports worried the magnitude of that epic would be too much for audiences to stand. The film’s producers, Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson want to be clear: the actual length of the movie is closer to your average Transformers or Marvel film.
“The cut didn’t come in at 163 minutes,” Kosove said. “The movie is 152 minutes with 11 minutes of credits. Just to be clear, that is the running time of the movie.”
Of course, once audiences spend two and a half hours in the vivid world of 2049, they might want to spend 10 more learning who created it.
“Yes, the movie is so brilliant, some people will stay through the end credits of the movie but the movie is two hours and 32 minutes,” Kosove said.
1982’s Blade Runner runs under two hours in most cuts. When director Denis Villeneuve crafted a more extended sequel, the producer never dreamed of asking him for cuts.
“Our view was if you can’t look at what you saw, what we saw, and recognize the brilliance of the filmmaking, the filmmaker who made it, we should probably go get another job,” Kosove said. “To go in there and say, ‘Oh, well the studio playbook says you can’t be longer than 122 minutes or you’ll get struck by lightning’ was not important to us. We believed in the filmmaker and his vision for the movie and we’re fine with that.”
Blade Runner 2049 is a mystery that unfolds gradually, allowing the viewer to realize what its heroes discover without spelling everything out for them. That takes time too.
“The way [cinematographer] Roger [Deakins] and Denis constructed this film was to wash over you and it’s a mystery,” Johnson said. “There’s a certain level of discovery and performance that go into it. There are no accidents in Blade Runner 2049. That is an intentional way that Denis directed it. To go in [and make cuts] after the fact, because you have to sit there for a few more minutes to actually have that experience, was not something we were going to do.”
Besides, find one scene in Blade Runner 2049 that you could do without.
“I think there was a priority put on the art and the artistry of the film as led by Denis, as opposed to trying to put arbitrary constraints on it in order to try to make it more commercial,” Johnson said. “If one were like, ‘Oh, it can only be two hours,’ the issue was the movie wouldn’t be as good at two hours. It wouldn’t be the same experience. In truth, it wasn’t shot that way.”
Blade Runner 2049 opens Friday, October 6.