Why I Think The Fall Guy Being Released In Homes This Week Is Actually A Bad Thing

 Ryan Gosling wearing armor in The Fall Guy.
Ryan Gosling wearing armor in The Fall Guy.

After just two weeks in movie theaters, The Fall Guy is set to be released digitally in homes on May 21st. The Ryan Gosling-led film will be available to rent or purchase on all the major digital and include 20 minutes of extended footage to entice those who saw the film in theaters to check it out again. While the news may be cause for celebration for those who haven’t gotten a chance to check out the action/comedy film in theaters, the early release date is actually a bad thing.

Loosely adapted from a 1980s TV series, Gosling stars as Colt Seavers, an injured Hollywood stuntman who gets back into the stunt game when he’s conned into joining his ex-girlfriend’s (Emily Blunt) directorial debut film. When he arrives on set, Jody is not pleased to see him, as she's still upset about their break-up. That’s the least of Colt’s problems, though, because he learns he’s really been hired to track down the lead actor (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who has disappeared after getting into trouble with drug dealers and save Jody’s movie.

Despite its underwhelming opening weekend box office, the action flick, which leans heavily into the romantic comedy genre, currently has an 87% Rotten Tomatoes rating with audiences. Those who have made the trip out to the movie theaters have absolutely loved it and showered it with praise. Unfortunately, that hasn’t convinced the studio to keep the movie in theaters longer.

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Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy
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Instead of letting its silver screen run continue and letting word of mouth do its job, like Sony Pictures did with Anyone But You, which went on to be a box office juggernaut, Universal Pictures is pulling the plug when it matters the most. Sure, the stuntman flick hasn’t been pulling the best numbers in its first two weeks, but summer is only just starting. At the very least, The Fall Guy and its impressive cast should have gotten one more exclusive week of movie theater showings now that many colleges and schools around the country are officially on summer break.

By not trusting the process, Universal Pictures is caving and only hurting future box office results further. If these studios continue to allow movie theaters to only have exclusive access to films for two weeks, everyone is going to stop showing up altogether. After all, what’s the point of struggling to get yourself and your family or friends out of the house and to a movie theater on a set time and date if you can just wait two weeks and watch it from the comfort of your home(s)? There is none.

Shorter release windows made sense during the height of the COVID pandemic, but as things have started getting back to normal, it’s time that the studios stop giving up on these movies. Some of the best films of all time were sleeper hits, not recouping production fees until months later. Anyone But You is the closest we’ve seen to something of that magnitude, and the long theatrical release paid off. It’s mind-blowing that Universal isn’t taking a page out of the rival studio's book, especially since The Fall Guy is, at its core, a romance.

There’s no denying that releasing The Fall Guy on digital will get more eyes on the deserving movie, but the overall cost is greater than the short-term gain. If studios really cared about the future of the film industry, they’d realize that movie theaters are an intricate part and stop trying to ruin them in favor of digital platforms.

It might be more expensive, but the future of the 2024 movie schedule and beyond is relying on us to show up in theaters to stop this accelerated digital release nonsense. Instead of renting The Fall Guy on digital this week, I implore everyone to check out what could be one of the best action movies in recent years in theaters on the big screen, which is how it deserves to be watched.