‘The Fall Guy’ Falters With $28 Million Box Office Opening

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The $125 million Universal action film needs to turn positive reviews into box-office longevity to recover from a slow start

Ryan Gosling in "The Fall Guy"
Ryan Gosling in "The Fall Guy" (CREDIT: Universal Pictures)

Universal/87North’s “The Fall Guy” isn’t giving theaters the start to the summer box office it’s accustomed to, earning a domestic opening weekend of just $28 million from 4,002 theaters, according to industry estimates.

Nobody was expecting an opening weekend on the level of a Marvel movie, but David Leitch’s PG-13 action romcom starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt is falling shy of the $30.6 million opening of his last film, the R-rated “Bullet Train” released in August 2022.

The saving grace? The film’s reception has been excellent. “The Fall Guy” earned an A- from opening night audiences on CinemaScore, and it’s also holding positive Rotten Tomatoes scores of 83% critics and 87% audience.

Now the question is whether that reception can generate enough word-of-mouth to help the film draw audiences over time so that it can turn a profit against its reported $125-130 million budget. Overseas markets will also need to deliver, as the film is estimated to gross $37.4 million from 39 markets through Sunday to give the film a global launch of approximately $65 million.

But getting out of the red won’t be easy, as major competition is on its way next week in the form of Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” The fourth installment of the rebooted “Apes” saga, itself a restart following the initial rebooted trilogy, is projected to earn an opening in the low $50 million range. That’s slightly below the $56 million opening of “War for the Planet of the Apes” in 2017.

The box-office returns are somewhat more hopeful for Amazon MGM’s “Challengers,” which is estimated to earn $8.7 million in its second weekend to drop just 42% from its $15 million opening. The tennis drama starring Zendaya still hasn’t turned a theatrical profit against its reported $55 million budget, but is showing signs of having the legs to get there with an estimated $30.5 million 10-day total.

Also hitting theaters this weekend is Sony/Screen Gems’ “Tarot,” a horror film that is opening to $6.25 million from 3,102 theaters. While that meets box-office projections, the film is getting panned by critics and audiences with 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and a C- on CinemaScore.

But “Tarot” is in fourth on the box-office charts behind a 25th anniversary rerelease of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” in third, which is on track to earn $7.5 million this weekend.


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