Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: The Fall Guy Debuts Below Expectations

The David Leitch action rom-com kicks off the summer movie season with a No. 1 finish, but one that many hoped would be more impressive.

by | May 6, 2024 | Comments


The summer movie season is here! Or is it? Over the weekend, theaters wondered if we traveled back in time to a period when Memorial Day was the true kickoff. Or even back to 1996, when Twister broke the mold on the second weekend of May and said, “Why wait to start the biggest season of the year?” The year we actually set the wayback machine for appears to be 2005, when Hollywood served up Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (the universally considered inferior theatrical cut of his epic) to just a $19.6 million start. While this week’s offering didn’t open quite as low, it has to be considered a big disappointment for Universal with an unfortunately fitting title.

King of the Crop: The Fall Guy Debuts Below Expectations

David Leitch’s The Fall Guy, despite ample amounts of promotion from the studio and heaps of early praise from its SXSW premiere in March, fell below its already low expectations and opened to $28.5 million. That is outside the top 20 openers in just the first weekend of May ever, below both The Mummy and Gladiator from 1999 and 2000, respectively, and about just $11 million ahead of The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Not a great start for a production in the $130-150 million region.

One unique thing The Fall Guy can claim is that it is the first May release to open between $28-29 million. An inconsolable piece of history, to be sure, but it does not rule out a stretch to $100 million entirely. The magic May number to guarantee that milestone has been $38 million, but half the movies to open between $25-30 million have done it. The problem is half of those were pre-2000, when films could still open to that level and enjoy a long run, like Beverly Hills Cop II, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and The Flintstones did. The other films to achieve that were Eddie Murphy again in Daddy Day Care, the first Now You See Me, and the mega word-of-mouth hit Bridesmaids. The Fall Guy is probably not going to end up like anti-word-of-mouth spectacles like Battleship and After Earth, which finished with $60 million and $65 million, respectively, but anything under $100 million is a big miss for this one, and it could result in Universal’s worst returns vs. budget since Fast X last year.

The Top 10 and Beyond: The Phantom Menace Rules May the 4th, Tarot Folds

In second place this week is George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In 2,700 theaters for May the 4th weekend, the first in the prequel series added another $8 million to its total. That is enough to see it jump two places on the all-time worldwide total list, leapfrogging both Finding Dory and Despicable Me 3 with over $1.035 billion. The one-time reviled opening to the Skywalker Saga also had a 3D re-release in 2012, when it opened to $22.4 million and finished with over $43 million domestic and $102 million worldwide, which officially pushed it into billion-dollar territory 13 years after its release. Twenty-five years later, the film continues to be reevaluated by fans, even as it remained the worst-reviewed live-action Star Wars film among critics (52%) until The Rise of Skywalker came along (51%).

Down to third place this week is Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers. The Zendaya-led tennis relationship drama fell a 49% to $7.6 million. That brings its 10-day total to $29.4 million, placing it between the Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty and the body-swap comedy Little, which earned $29.6 million and $29.2 million, respectively, at the same point. Both had second weekends just over $8 million. That would place Challengers somewhere between $41-45 million, depending on how it holds next weekend. The film has already outgrossed Guagagino’s own Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria remake, and Bones and All combined, not to mention about every tennis-themed film ever made. So it’s a pretty decent haul, but its $55 million price tag could still keep it in the red, as it has made just $22.8 million internationally on top of its domestic take.

Horror continues not to sell well. Despite being a trailer many could not avoid in theaters, Sony’s Tarot arrived on the scene with no screenings for press. The studio now owns the two worst critic scores of the year for wide releases in Madame Web (13%) and now Tarot (18%), which opened with just $6.5 million. The $8 million-budgeted film is not going to sweat that too much, but as the cheapest horror production of 2024 to date, it was certainly hoping it could crack low eight digits and get on the quick road to recovery.

Down to fifth this week is Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire with $4.5 million. That 37% drop combined with a total of $188 million now gives it more hope to hit $200 million. It currently is outpacing Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella, which had $186.4 million at the same point after a $4 million sixth weekend. However, that followed with nearly identical weekends of $2.7 million. The New Empire is likely to fall a little further, especially with a new Apes film coming, but we can’t rule it out right now. Having already achieved the half-billion milestone ($546.8 million), few tears will be shed between the titans as it is currently the second highest-grossing film of the year worldwide behind only Dune: Part Two, which fell out of the top 10 in its tenth weekend and is over $281 million domestic and $708 million worldwide.

Out of the top five in its fourth week is Alex Garland’s Civil War, which earned $3.5 million over the weekend to bring its total to $62 million. Its fourth weekend is close to that of the 2005 Amityville Horror remake ($3.34 million) but remains about $1.7 million ahead of that film’s pace, so its path is likely destined for around $67-69 million. It has passed $95 million worldwide. Dropping from second all the way down to seventh is the Christian band origin story Unsung Hero. The Lionsgate release dropped to $3.1 million and has a total of over $13 million. Universal’s other disappointment in the top 10 is the vampire child Abigail, which in its third week grossed $2.3 million for a total of $22.7 million to date. The $28 million budgeted film has grossed just $34.7 million worldwide.

Rounding out the top 10 is the good news for Universal. Kung Fu Panda 4 remains the most profitable film of the year, adding $2.2 million to its total of $188 million domestic and $520 million worldwide. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire also stuck around for one more week with $1.6 million. That brings its domestic total to $109.7 million, just a couple million shy of the lowest-grossing film in the franchise. It has made another $85 million and may just get itself over $200 million worldwide.

Dropping out of the top 10 this week is Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Grossing just $1.6 million in its third week, the WWII action film with Henry Cavill has made just $18.4 million. It is the biggest bomb to date in 2024, though The Fall Guy is looking to take its place. Also falling away was Roadside’s Boy Kills World, which dropped 85% to just $247,155 for a total of $2.4 million.

In limited release we have Ethan Hawke’s Wildcat from Oscilloscope, making $58,140 in 3 theaters for a per-theater average of $19,380. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist from Janus Films opened to $45,300 in 3 theaters. But coming in strongest in just four theaters was Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw The TV Glow. A24’s release of the follow-up to Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going To The World’s Fair made an estimated $116,340 for a PTA of $29,085. That is the third-highest of the year after The Taste of Things from IFC ($43,350) and Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding from A24 ($30,153). The latter opened wider in its second weekend and went on to gross $7.8 million. I Saw the TV Glow will expand throughout the month.

On the Vine: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Looks to Establish Its Reign

It is time again to revisit the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. The origin trilogy between 2011-2017 grossed over $1.68 billion worldwide, and 20th Century Studios (and theaters) are hoping it will kickstart the summer season a bit better than The Fall Guy did. The three previous films all opened to at least $54 million, and that is certainly a number everyone would like to hit this weekend.

Full List of Box Office Results: May 3-5, 2024

  • $28.5 million ($28.5 million total)

  • $8 million ($8 million total)

  • $7.6 million ($29.4 million total)

  • $6.5 million ($6.5 million total)

  • $4.5 million ($188 million total)

  • $3.5 million ($62 million total)

  • $3 million ($13.1 million total)

  • $2.4 million ($188.3 million total)

  • $2.3 million ($22.7 million total)

  • $1.9 million ($109 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by ©A24

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