The Fall Guy Aims To Avoid Disaster As The Summer Box Office Begins


It's no secret that the first third of 2024 has been at best uneven as far as the box office goes. Ticket sales are lagging way behind this same point in 2023, in no small part thanks to movies like "Abigail" and "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" underperforming on the same weekend. Thankfully, the summer movie season is on the horizon and Hollywood, as well as theater owners, will hinge their hopes on a varied slate being able to sell an outsized number of tickets. That all begins next weekend with the release of Universal's "The Fall Guy." The question is, can Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt strike gold in the summer season once again after last year's Barbenheimer phenomenon?

"The Fall Guy" will be the first blockbuster to hit theaters in May, which typically ushers in the summer for Hollywood. Currently, the big-budget action/comedy is looking at an opening weekend in the $40 million range, on the optimistic end, per Box Office Pro. If things go poorly, the outlet notes it could go as low as $20 million, which would be an outright disaster. That said, Forbes recently suggested it would land around $40 million. Even on the high end of current projections, this movie might be facing an uphill battle on several fronts. First and foremost? It needs to make its money back.

Both Gosling and Blunt are coming off of the biggest hits of their careers with "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer," respectively. Universal is hoping some of that magic will rub off on the adaptation of the classic TV series of the same name, which hails from director David Leith ("Deadpool 2"). It carries a reported $125 million budget, so the studio is banking on this movie playing like a mass-appeal franchise blockbuster. That said, because the TV show isn't exactly a household name anymore, particularly for younger folks, this is ostensibly playing like an original action franchise hopeful. The projections we're seeing are on the very low end for a summer tentpole.

Can The Fall Guy help bring the box office back to life?

The film centers on stuntman Colt Seavers (Gosling), who left the business a year ago. He is then called back to his former profession when the star of a mega-budget studio movie goes missing. Adding a wrinkle to the situation is the fact that the movie is being directed by the woman of his dreams, Jody Moreno (Blunt). The cast also includes Hannah Waddingham ("Ted Lasso"), Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Bullet Train"), Winston Duke ("Black Panther"), and Stephanie Hsu ("Everything Everywhere All at Once").

Leitch, as a director, has delivered big hits within franchises such as "Deadpool 2" ($786 million worldwide) and "Hobbs & Shaw" ($760 million worldwide). Outside of that, he's done well with smaller-budget films such as "Atomic Blonde" ($98 million worldwide). But 2022's "Bullet Train" ($238 million worldwide) was a mixed bag given its $85 million budget. Similarly, Gosling and Blunt are big stars in their own right with plenty of hits to their names. But for every "La La Land" ($433 million worldwide), Gosling has a "The Nice Guys" ($71 million worldwide). Blunt has been more consistent, with only a few misfires like "The Huntsman: Winter's War" ($165 million worldwide/$115 million budget), which she can hardly be blamed for.

This all makes it tough to say where the film might land. Universal will be relying on strong word of mouth here. Fortunately, the buzz out of SXSW and CinemaCon has been very strong. (You can read /Film's glowing review of "The Fall Guy" right here.) Unfortunately, "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is on deck for the following weekend, which figures to steal a lot of thunder.

Big picture, it means a slower start to the summer season than last year. The first weekend of May 2023 saw "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" open to a whopping $118 million, holding strong from then on out. "Fast X" then followed two weeks later. Here's hoping Leitch's latest becomes a crowd-pleaser that legs out as May rolls on.

"The Fall Guy" hits theaters on May 3, 2024.

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