Box Office Predictions: Will the summer movie season kick off with a whimper or a bang?

The Fall Guy is expected to kick off the summer movie season with a decent, if unspectacular, weekend take.

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

the fall guy box office

This weekend marks the official start of the summer movie season. Yeah, I know – it’s still springtime, but if you follow blockbuster movie release dates, you’ll know that May’s always been prime real estate, with many of the biggest money earners of all time coming out in that month. Last year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 kicked off the season with a muscular $118 million opening. Sadly, this year’s first big would-be blockbuster, The Fall Guy, looks like it will only open with about a fraction of that take, with the industry predicting a $35-40 million opening. 

That opening would put it right in line with director David Leitch’s last big action flick, Bullet Train, which opened with $30 million on its way to a $103 million North American cume and a $239 million worldwide total. That was considered a more-than-ok number, considering the film only had a budget in the $90 million range. However, The Fall Guy, which is based on the classic TV series, costs significantly more and has been getting hyped like crazy. After all, it unites two stars of last year’s Barbenheimer phenomena for an action romance. The reviews have been more than decent (including ours), and star Ryan Gosling’s career seems hotter than ever.

So why isn’t it expected to open any better?

Truth be told, the business has changed a lot in recent years, with audiences now accustomed to waiting until they can catch a film at home. Release windows have shrunk, and home theaters have gotten more affordable, so audiences have to be sure they’re getting their money’s worth. For an epic like Dune: Part Two, they’re happy to shell out cash, but I imagine a lot of people are on the fence about The Fall Guy, making it a movie that will live or die by word-of-mouth.

That said, I’m expecting it’ll open on the low end of expectations, with $35 million, although it could play very well throughout the month if it manages to appeal to a wide audience, just like Barbie did. The Fall Guy will be helped by the fact that it’s a good movie, and maybe, with its relatively tame PG-13 rating, it’ll bring in a family audience, although it will have big competition next weekend with Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. It can’t be denied that the fact that a $35-40 million opening will be considered a “win” goes to show how dire the theatrical exhibition business has become. 

Otherwise, the rest of the top 5 should be low-wattage, with Zendaya’s Challengers likely to slip to second place with about a $7 million weekend. At the same time, I expect the Christian pic, Unsung Hero, to end in third place with about $6 million. I think the little-discussed horror flick, Tarot, should open at about $5 million in fourth place. And, finally, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with a re-release. Nostalgic fans should give it a decent enough opening to get it to fifth place.

Here’s what we’re thinking the weekend box office will look like:

  1. The Fall Guy: $35 million
  2. Challengers: $7 million
  3. Unsung Hero: $6 million
  4. Tarot: $5 million
  5. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (re-release): $4 million

What are you going to see this weekend?

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.