Blade Runner had little going for it right from the start. A leading actor (Harrison Ford) that was unknown to most all but the avid Star Wars fan, a massive budget but low actors name recognition, a script based on a relatively unknown short story by author Philip K. Dick and a director that had yet to really prove himself. Ridley Scott had made Alien just two short years earlier and it was a fairly successful film with sci-fi fans but still hadn’t caught on with the general public like the franchise has over the last 35-years. It must be remembered that even after the Star Wars and Star Trek film releases in the late 1970’s sci-fi movies were relegated to a niche audience. The genre had several years to go before it would become the money-making machine it is today in Hollywood.
Since 1982 Blade Runner has risen to the top of the movie food chain sparking seven different versions of itself (one of the first films to do that) and today it is considered a truly successful science fiction film classic.
Critics at the time hated It’s A Wonderful Life marking it as a sappy and ridiculously emotionally overreaching film that should never have seen the light of day. As a result it lost big at the box office and put a dent into iconic director Frank Capra’s reputation. Today it would be difficult to envision a world without George Bailey and that precious movie It’s A Wonderful Life.
However, with the advent of television in the early 1950’s the movie became an annual February viewing event and captured the hearts of the newly minted baby boomer audience sitting in front of their black and white 10-inch screens totally mesmerized by Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion while being frightened out of their wits by Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West and her horde of flying monkeys. Today The Wizard of Oz is a timeless film classic that will likely be viewed by wide-eyed children for generations to come.
So the moral of this tale is: today’s box office and critical flop could very well end up being considered a Hollywood classic, say in…….10 or 20 years.