‘The Fall Guy’ Can’t Rev Up Box Office With $28.5 Million Opening

Universal/87North’s “The Fall Guy” is getting the summer box office off to a slow start, earning a domestic opening of just $28.5 million from 4,002 theaters.

That’s a step below pre-release projections of $30 million, which would have put it on par with director David Leitch’s last film, “Bullet Train,” which grossed $239 million worldwide in 2022, and the Paramount action comedy “The Lost City,” which grossed $192.9 million. Problem is, “The Fall Guy” carries a far higher budget than either of those films as it is reported to have cost at least $125 million to produce before marketing expenses.

The one big hope? “The Fall Guy” has been well received, earning an A- on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 83% critics and 87% audience. That sort of word-of-mouth could help the film leg out past $100 million domestic, just like “Bullet Train” and “The Lost City” did two years ago.

Combine that with continued turnout from international markets — the film has made $36.9 million from 39 markets so far for a $65.4 million global launch — and “The Fall Guy” still has a chance to leg out past the break-even point. But it’s going to have to do that against Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes,” which is currently projected to open in the $50 million range next weekend.

Despite the competition, Universal’s domestic distribution president Jim Orr expressed confidence that “The Fall Guy” can go the distance.

“The Fall Guy is not only a tremendous action film with everything that David Leitch and 87North bring to it, but the chemistry between our two incredible leads in Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling is captivating audiences and will continue to do so for a very long, successful run this summer,” he said.

In second on the charts is Disney’s 25th anniversary re-release of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” which earned $8.2 million from 2,700 theaters domestically and $6.4 million overseas. That result puts the 1999 prequel film past $480 million domestic and $1.03 billion worldwide in lifetime grosses.

Amazon MGM’s “Challengers” is in third with a second weekend total of $7.6 million. That’s a decent hold for the Zendaya tennis drama, dropping 49% its $15 million opening to give it a total of $29.4 million domestic. But it still hasn’t made back its reported $55 million budget.

In fourth is the other wide release of this weekend, Sony/Screen Gems’ horror film “Tarot,” with a $6.5 million opening from 3,104 theaters. The film has been panned with a C- on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 12% critics and 59% audience. But with a reported budget of just $8 million, it will easily turn a modest theatrical profit.

Warner Bros./Legendary’s “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” completes the top 5 with $4.5 million to give it a total of $188 million after six weekends. While it may fall slightly short, the crossover film is drawing closer and closer to the $568 million global total of its 2017 MonsterVerse predecessor “Kong: Skull Island.”

Finally, in limited release, A24’s psychological horror film “I Saw the TV Glow” opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed $116,340 for a per theater average of $29,085. The sophomore film from “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” director Jane Schoenbrun got strong reviews from its midnight section premiere at Sundance, earning an 88% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Evil Does Not Exist” was released in three theaters by Sideshow and Janus Films in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $45,300 for a per theater average of $15,100. The arthouse drama from the Oscar-winning director of “Drive My Car” won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival last year.

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