'The Fall Guy' to Kick Off Summer Box Office After a Brutal Spring


David Leitch’s action-comedy The Fall Guy isn’t the normal kind of stunt Hollywood usually relies on to herald the start of the summer box office, but these aren’t normal times.

Outside of the pandemic era, that job belonged to superhero tentpoles, and specifically Marvel Studios fare (including all four Avengers movies). And Marvel returned to do the honors last year when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 debuted to $118.4 million over the May 5-7 weekend. But Hollywood was thrown off kilter again by last year’s labor strikes, with the release calendar put in disarray. Then there’s the not so-little-issue of superhero fatigue, which has forced both Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment to retrench and regroup.

From Universal, The Fall Guy has plenty of star power. The film stars Ryan Gosling of Barbie fame as a burned-out stuntman who comes out of self-imposed exile to help save a Hollywood movie that’s being helmed by his ex-girlfriend, played by Oppenheimer‘s Emily Blunt. All sorts of mayhem ensues when the movie’s leading man disappears from set in Australia.

Hannah Waddingham, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke and Stephanie Hsu co-star in the film, which currently boasts an 87 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Fall Guy — inspired by the 1980s TV show of the same name starring Lee Majors — is tracking to open in the $30 million to $35 million range, enough to top the weekend chart. The action comedy’s net budget is a reported $140 million, so it will need long legs to recoup its budget. In 2022, the action comedy The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, turned into a sleeper hit and played for weeks, on its way to $192.9 million globally.

It’s already begun rolling out overseas, earning a somewhat subdued $8.4 million to date from 38 markets. The bigger test comes this weekend when it opens in an additional 40 markets.

The box office has been saturated with male-driven fare in recent weeks, and The Fall Guy should benefit from appealing to females as well. THR‘s review says Gosling and Blunt “sparkle in this action comedy with heart,” and that is the “rare big studio film that feels human.”

The other new wide opener this weekend is Sony/Screen Gems’ horror pic Tarot, which is pacing to open to $5 million to $6 million.

Year-over-year comparisons for the weekend will be bleak because of Guardians 3, but studios and theater owners are hopeful that the summer slate — including Deadpool & Wolverine (July 26) and Inside Out 2 (June 14) — will help collectively make ground after a dismal late spring.

At the moment, domestic revenue year to date is running 21 percent behind 2023, when summer revenue cleared $4 billion thanks primarily to the Barbenheimer phenomenon. This summer — defined as the first weekend in May through Labor Day — is hoping is hoping to get to $3.2 billion, but there is little chance it gets to $4 billion.



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