‘Fall Guy’ movie opens with just $28 million in ticket sales

“The Fall Guy” seemed to have it all.

Megawatt stars. Death-defying stunts. Great reviews. An original story – what sequel-weary moviegoers want.

Universal backed “The Fall Guy” with a six-month marketing campaign, releasing trailers that garnered 400 million views and bombarding televised sporting events, including the Super Bowl, with advertising.

For Friday through Sunday, North American ticket sales totaled just $28.5 million, the worst start to Hollywood’s all-important summer season since 1995. “The Fall Guy” cost Universal at least $200 million to produce and market and opened at 4,002 released in theaters in the United States and Canada. Another $37 million was raised abroad.

That’s why studios don’t take risks when it comes to new stories. “Business is so hard and it’s so hard to come up with new ideas,” said David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a film magazine Newsletter on cash register numbers. “You want to explain to shareholders why you spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a novel idea that crashed?”

“The Fall Guy,” an action comedy, shares the name and some basic DNA with a television drama that ran on ABC from 1981 to 1986. However, the story of the film is completely new. Scott Mendelson, a box office columnist with him own subscription newslettersaid moviegoers, who complain that Hollywood doesn’t make enough original films “just to stay home or go somewhere else when they do.”

Ryan Gosling, fresh from “Barbie” and a celebrated vocal performance At the Academy Awards, he plays a down-on-his-luck stuntman who gets caught up in a crime thriller while trying to rekindle a romantic relationship. Emily Blunt plays a film director. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham and Jason Momoa round out the cast of The Fall Guy.

It was the first time in 19 years that Hollywood’s summer season – a four-month period that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales – did not begin with a superhero or a sequel. Last year, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 kicked off the summer with $118 million in opening weekend ticket sales and grossed $846 million worldwide.

To find a season opener with lower ticket sales than “The Fall Guy,” you’d have to go back to 1995, when “French Kiss,” a mid-budget romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, grossed about $18 million in today’s dollars . (The most recent original film to begin a summer season was Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven,” which grossed $31.5 million adjusted for inflation in 2005.)

When theatrical films experience disappointing ticket sales, studios always say they hope word of mouth will lead to a wider audience in the coming weeks. Universal was no different on Sunday, saying in a statement that it “expects to continue playability in the coming weeks for this action/thriller film, perfect for date night.”

In the case of “The Fall Guy,” it might not be (just) spin. Romantic comedies can start slowly and then build up. “Anyone but You” grossed $25 million, opened with a dismal $8 million over the Christmas weekend and reached $219 million worldwide. In 2022, “The Lost City” cost $68 million, reached $30.5 million, and ultimately grossed $193 million.

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