Fresh off the commercial failure of 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, Warner Bros is making one of the best decisions in its existence and downgrading the “franchise” straight to anime status.
I put franchise in quotes because there are only two movies. And when I say commercial failure I mean:
- Production costs of at least $150M
- Global box office of $259M (of which the studio gets around 50%)
- Home video sales of $23M and less than 1 million units (combined DVD & Blu Ray)
This doesn’t even count how much they spend on P&A — that’s Print & Advertising for you people who aren’t industry insiders like us here at Film Goblin. It means marketing.
So, instead of expanding the world, Warner Bros lost a whole bunch of money on sexbots and “Chosen One” storylines in order to shoehorn in an aging Harrison Ford.
I’m Not Bitter, I’m Exhausted
Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time.
The dead-tech, post-future look. The machinery. The effects. The music. The mythology.
All perfect. It’s 5 out of 5 Off-World Colonies. I challenge you to watch the opening in HD with headphones on, the volume up and not get goosebumps.
I don’t want perfect things recycled and spun until all of the magic and mystery have been wrung from them and all that’s left are the lifeless husks of Hollywood roadkill.
Here We Go Again
Now, according to Variety, Adult Swim and something called CrunchyRoll (?) are teaming up to bring an animated — excuse me, anime — version of the Blade Runner world (fuck you, I’m not saying “universe”) to the small screen.
From the article:
Blade Runner-Black Lotus, as it will be called, will consist of 13 half-hour episodes. Details of the plot are being kept under wraps, but it is known that the story will take place in 2032 and will include some established characters from the “Blade Runner” universe.
Tbh, this doesn’t bother me that much. Cartoons aren’t really something I take seriously as authoritative pieces of art, let alone an evolution or extension of something as amazing as Blade Runner.
Blade Runner was groundbreaking as a movie, the ultimate form of human expression. While a live-action TV show with a new blade runner hunting yet more skinjobs might diminish the original, a cartoon, book or video game won’t.
Of course, the usual “I’m like the biggest fan of” statements are being heard from the corner offices. According to Jason DeMarco, SVP and creative director of Adult Swim:
“It has remained one of the defining films of my life. To be able to explore more of this universe, with the incredible talent we have on board, is a dream come true.”
Sure it is.
It’s ironic that the one creative to just come out and say “I don’t know anything about the source material” managed to create one of the best adaptations of all time.
Or maybe honest men just make honest movies?
Is There Hope?
It’s a cartoon, so who fucking cares?
But seriously, it’s being done in Japan and produced on the ground by Shinichiro Watanabe, who wrote and directed the anime short film Blade Runner: Black Out 2022.
Watching this I realize that why anime is not the same as a cartoon. The use of light and shadow is pretty amazing in that short. These guys know what they are doing.
But while adults are in charge of the actual execution, children are still wearing the suits stateside and will decide what goes into their version of a dystopian cyberpunk future.
What do you think their Blade Runner world will look and feel like?