Ryan Gosling’s ‘The Fall Guy’ Underperforms as Summer Blockbuster Launch


Under the headlining glow of the setting New York City skyline, the much-hyped action-comedy, “The Fall Guy,” fronted by Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling, failed to spring from the starting blocks as expected. Tallying $28.5 million in box office receipts, the lackluster performance signaled a tentative initial step into a summer film season fraught with uncertainty for Tinseltown.

The Universal Pictures venture was released on a weekend typically ruled by Marvel, the superhero-factory known for their $100 million-plus inaugural weekends. A juxtaposing stroke came in 2023 with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”, as it skyrocketed to a $118 million debut. However, 2022’s labor strike threw chaos into the cinematic release schedules, leading to the postponement of “Deadpool & Wolverine” from its original launch date to July.

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Thus, in lieu of the usual summer superhero staple, audiences were treated to a tribute to the often-overlooked stunt performers. These unsung heroes are the uncredited pillars on which action sequences spectacular is constructed. Initial predictions estimated the grand opening between $30 million to $40 million.

Helmed by former stuntman and “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch, “The Fall Guy,” propelled itself into the theaters amidst a wave of positive reviews and anticipatory excitement from its South by Southwest (SXSW) premiere. Balancing the scales, however, will require sustaining public interest to recoup the $130 million outlay. An additional $25.4 million was garnered from international markets.

Boosting its longevity prospects are encouraging audience ratings (an impressive “A-” CinemaScore) and favorable reviews (a ‘fresh’ 83% score on the review-aggregation website, Rotten Tomatoes). Expressing his optimism, Jim Orr, the distribution chief for Universal, visualized a successful trajectory for “The Fall Guy” in the weeks to come.

However, the relatively soft landing of “The Fall Guy” inevitably raises broader concerns about the health of the film industry. The waned allure of the once-dominating superhero genre has initiated a hunt for novel blockbusters, and “The Fall Guy” seemed to tick all the boxes. Stocked with spectacular action scenes, marquee stars, directorial prowess, and rave reviews, the film promised much. Unfortunately, the reality underscores the uphill battle ahead for the industry, tainted by lackluster comparisons to last year’s blockbuster summer, the “Barbenheimer” season.

Nevertheless, Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, projected a positive spin. The silver screen will see fewer blockbusters due to last year’s industrial strikes, and box-office estimates hover around $3 billion as opposed to the $4 billion of yesteryears.

In an unexpected twist, the runner-up box office laurels were taken by a rerelease of the Walt Disney Company’s “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” raking in $8.1 million – a somber reminder of its prosperity twenty-five years prior when it amassed a whopping $1 billion.

Previous box office chart-topper, Zendaya’s tennis drama “Challengers”, dropped to third place, drawing revenues of $7.6 million in its sophomore weekend. Meanwhile, the budget release of the horror film, “Tarot,” initiated its theatrical run with a respectable $6.5 million. This is emblematic of a broader bouquet of the horror genre’s box office woes this year.

The box office leaderboard was rounded off by “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire”, “Civil War”, “Unsung Hero”, “Kung Fu Panda 4”, “Abigail”, and “Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire” coming in at number ten. As the race continues, what remains to be seen is the content and prospects of the final box office figures due to be unveiled this Monday.