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The Fall Guy Kicks Off Hollywood Summer With $28.5 Million Opening

The Fall Guy Kicks Off Hollywood Summer With $28.5 Million Opening


By JAKE COYLE (AP Film Writer)

NEW YORK (AP) — “The Fall Guy,” the Ryan Gosling-led action comedy ode to stuntmen, opened below expectations with $28.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, providing a tepid start to a yet-to-be-determined summer movie season for Hollywood.

The Universal Pictures release opened on a weekend that Marvel has consistently dominated with $100 million-plus debuts. (In 2023, it was “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” with a debut of $118 million. ) But last year's strikes scrambled this year's film schedule; “Deadpool & Wolverine,” originally scheduled for this weekend, will debut in July.

So instead of a superhero kickoff, the summer launch was devoted to a movie about stuntmen who anonymously sacrifice their bodies for the kind of action sequences that blockbusters are built on. Going into the weekend, forecasts called for the film to open between $30 million and $40 million.

“The Fall Guy,” directed by former stuntman and “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch, opened the weekend with momentum from rave reviews and buzz of a SXSW premiere. But it will need sustained interest to merit its $130 million production budget. This added $25.4 million in overseas markets.

Working in its favor in the long term: good audience scores (an “A” CinemaScore) and good reviews (83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Universal distribution chief Jim Orr thinks things are lining up well for “The Fall Guy” in the coming weeks.

“We had a very strong opening,” Orr said. “We're expecting a very long, very strong, very successful series at the domestic box office for literally weeks, if not months.”

But the modest beginning of “The Fall Guy” hints at bigger concerns for the film industry. Superhero movies aren't quite the box office behemoths they once were, leading studios to look for a fresher alternative. “The Fall Guy” seemed to check all the boxes, with over-the-top action sequences, one of the hottest stars in the business, a director with a proven track record of crowd-pleasing, and great reviews.

But instead, the opening of “The Fall Guy,” loosely inspired by the 1980s TV series, only served to highlight that the film industry will likely have a hard time rekindling last year's fervor . The “Barbenheimer” summer. “The Fall Guy” stars one of each: Gosling, in his first role after Ken, and Emily Blunt, of “Oppenheimer.” Both were nominated for Oscars.

“This year's summer is going to be very interesting and non-traditional,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Partly because of the effects of last year's work stoppages, there are fewer big films hitting theaters. Total summer box office is expected to be closer to $3 billion than the $4 billion historically generated.

“The summer season is just getting started, so let’s give ‘The Fall Guy’ a chance to build that momentum over time.” It’s a different type of summer kickoff movie,” Dergarabedian said. “There are always huge expectations placed on any film that kicks off the summer movie season, but this is not a typical summer movie season.”

To everyone's surprise, second place at the box office went to the Walt Disney Co.'s re-release of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” The first installment of George Lucas' little-loved prequels grossed $8.1 million this year weekend, 25 years after “Phantom Menace” grossed $1 billion.

The best film of last week, Zendaya tennis drama “Challengers” slipped to third place with $7.6 million in its second week. This is a sold-out take for the Amazon MGM release, directed by Luca Guadagnino, down 49% from its opening weekend.

Sony Screen Gems' supernatural horror film “Tarot” was also released nationwide. It debuted with $6.5 million, a pretty decent start for a low-budget release, but another example of horror not performing as well this year as in recent years.

Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “The Fall Guy,” $28.5 million.

2. “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” $8.1 million.

3. “Challengers,” $7.6 million.

4. “Tarot,” $6.5 million.

5. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” $4.5 million.

6. “Civil War,” $3.6 million.

7. “An Unsung Hero,” $3 million.

8. “Kung Fu Panda 4,” $2.4 million.

9. “Abigail,” $2.3 million.

10. “Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire,” $1.8 million.




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