The Fall Guy Puts On An Underwhelming Show At The Weekend Box Office To Kick Off Summer Blockbuster Season

 Ryan Gosling hanging on under a truck in The Fall Guy.
Ryan Gosling hanging on under a truck in The Fall Guy.

The first weekend of May is generally seen as the launch of the summer blockbuster season, but 2024 is sadly not off to a very hot start. David Leitch's The Fall Guy was put in the prime position to kick things off with a bang, the action movie having earned positive buzz since its premiere this spring at the SXSW Film Festival, but things haven't worked out as hopes. The film did manage to unseat Luca Guadagnino's Challengers from its place as the number one movie in America, but the final figures are disappointing.

Check out the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

The Fall Guy Weekend Box Office May 3-5, 2024
The Fall Guy Weekend Box Office May 3-5, 2024

The Fall Guy Falls Short Of High Hopes For The Start Of The Summer Blockbuster Season

Those who regularly follow box office developments know that this is typically the time of year when we get to see the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since 2008, the first week of May has featured the domestic debut of 10 new blockbusters from the comic book movie franchise – with major hits including Jon Favreau's Iron Man, Joss Whedon's The Avengers, Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: Civil War, and James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Because of the Hollywood labor disputes from 2023, however, this year saw a different flavor arrive in theaters... and it unfortunately didn't live up expectations. As noted by Variety, The Fall Guy is a movie that was made with a Marvel-sized budget, costing $130 million before publicity and marketing, but it has failed to draw a Marvel-sized audience in its opening weekend.

Per The Numbers, the new blockbuster starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt only made $28.5 million over the last three days – which is a smidge below the projected ticket sales that circulated in the trades last week. The movie has also made $36.9 million overseas, which equates to a $65.4 million gross thus far in its worldwide theatrical run, but it's going to have to pull off some serious magic if it's going to be reflected upon as a box office success.

Ryan Gosling making a big leap in The Fall Guy
Ryan Gosling making a big leap in The Fall Guy

The good news here is that those movie-goers who are seeing The Fall Guy seem to really enjoy it. There are balanced critics and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, and CinemaScore surveys returned an "A-" grade. Those are ingredients that could end up leading to positive word of mouth and translate to long term success... but things don't look too hot in the short term. No rational person in the industry had expectations that the film would put up Marvel-sized numbers (the TV adaptation simply doesn't have anywhere near the IP power), but there were hopes that it would have an opening weekend that would rank higher than seventh place in 2024 thus far. (Sixth place is Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.'s Mean Girls, which made made $28.6 million during its first three days in theaters back in January).

Of course, part of the reason why there were hopes for a stronger start is tied to the aforementioned fact that we are now at the beginning of blockbuster season, and competition for box office dominance is going to be serious despite the effects of last year's strikes on the release schedule. There aren't any MCU movies coming out in May (Shawn Levy's Deadpool & Wolverine won't be arriving until July), but there are standout franchise titles on the way that will be looking to target the same core demographics – including new chapters from the worlds of Planet Of The Apes and Mad Max.

Following Poor Reviews, Tarot Has To Settle For Fourth Place

The arrival of The Fall Guy was paired with the theatrical release of Anna Halberg and Spenser Cohen's Tarot, and one could argue that it's an ironic case of reverse fortunes: the negatives for one are positives for the other, and vice versa.

While David Leitch was given a lot of money to make his love letter to the craft of stunt work, Tarot was a microbudget production that reportedly only cost $8 million to make. Because of this, the film's opening weekend box office performance may look bad on paper ($6.5 million and fourth place), it is much further along on the path to profitability compared to its direct competition.

That being said, Tarot is on its way to otherwise have a terrible legacy. While The Fall Guy is getting a lot of love from critics and audiences, the response to the latest studio horror film has been dismal. As I wrote in my Tarot CinemaBlend review, it'sa movie with a broken premise that is ridden with clichés, and its "C-" CinemaScore grade suggests that movie-goers are seeing the same thing.

The Fall Guy might end up growing some legs in the weeks to come and enjoy years of post-theatrical success, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Tarot suffer a 60+ percent weekend-to-weekend drop when I write this box office column next Sunday and be gone from the Top 10 before the end of the month.

Positive Buzz Results In Challengers Having A Solid Second Weekend

In last Sunday's box office report, I noted that the #1 launch for Challengers had to be taken with a grain of salt. It was exciting to see an adult-centric movie sit at the top of the domestic chart, but there was a caveat given that the film cost $55 million to make (not counting publicity and marketing costs) and took over the Top 10 making just $15 million. It was also understood that there was no way that the film would win the box office crown twice in a row, as it was obviously going to be outpaced by The Fall Guy... but all that being said, the movie did still have a good sophomore Friday-to-Sunday.

Challengers has fallen to third place in the Top 10, with the anniversary release of George Lucas' Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace having earned the silver medal, but what's notable about the performance is that it only fell 49 percent weekend-to-weekend. The romantic tennis drama starring Zendaya, Josh O'Connor, and Mike Faist has been inspiring a lot of chatter, and it has made $29.5 million to date in the United States and Canada. Globally, it has made $52.3 million – so there is still a chance that it will end up being reflected on as both a critical and box office success.

How will the current Top 10 change with the arrival of both Wes Ball's Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes and Johnny Mack's comedy Not Another Church Movie this coming Friday? Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday for my latest box office report, and meanwhile, check out our 2024 Movie Release Schedule to discover all of the titles set to be released in the weeks and months ahead.