Weekend Box Office Preview: How High Will THE FALL GUY Rise?

© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures

Kicking off May we have one new release delivering action, comedy, and romance with a dash of minor IP recognition. We also have some scary counter-programming with its own broad name value, along with a returning challenger.

Boxoffice Barometer

Forecasting the Top 3 Movies at the Domestic Box Office
May 3-5, 2024

1. The Fall Guy
Universal Pictures | NEW
Opening Weekend Range: $30 – $40M


  • Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are a perfectly matched onscreen pair in what looks to be a wry, fun genre mash that currently boasts 87% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes. Gosling, in particular, seems ideally cast as the title stuntman since the roles he picks are usually in either the action or romance realm, and this film blends the best elements of both with his strong comedic ability. The promotion has been top-notch, especially with fun appearances like Gosling’s drop-in at a Universal Studios stunt show. The filmmakers appear enthusiastic about turning it into a continuing franchise, recently telling Variety, “We want to make five of these things.”

  • Filmmaker David Leitch himself is a former stuntman who has never missed on any of his directorial outings since co-helming the first John Wick over a decade ago. While Leitch has made franchise movies before (Deadpool 2, Hobbes & Shaw), his specialty is delivering original action fare with humor and plenty of show-stopping set pieces to sell a picture. The Fall Guy could be perceived as original and IP since it is a very loose redo of the 80’s TV show title. Leitch’s 2022 hit Bullet Train is our primary comp, bringing in $103.3 million domestically and $239.3 million worldwide. We expect The Fall Guy to build on that performance.


  • While Gosling may be coming hot off the billion dollar box office bonanza that was Barbie (where he was the supporting lead under Margot Robbie), he’s had relatively few monster hits in his career as a leading man, preferring more off-beat or indie films such as Drive… where he also played a stunt man. His biggest movies tend to be light romances ala The Notebook, Crazy Stupid Love, or La La Land. Projects that positioned Gosling as an action lead are often money losers (Blade Runner 2049, The Nice Guys, Gangster Squad) even when they land with critics.
  • A film based on the Glen A. Larson TV series from the 1980s has been in the works since the early 2010s. Still, unlike others of this ilk (21 Jump Street, Charlie’s Angels, Starsky & Hutch), it’s arguable that The Fall Guy did not leave a substantial cultural footprint (the series was Nielsen ranked #80 by its 5th and final season). A vast majority of audiences under the age of 30 probably wouldn’t remember who Lee Majors was, and those who were fans may be put off by the fact that this is a very loose remake of the show with only the stuntman themes and the name “Colt Seavers” intact. It may be one of those cases where the filmmakers wind up pleasing no one in trying to please everyone. Also, do we need to remind you that action and comedy delivered with a significant budget didn’t stop Argylle from digging its own grave earlier this year?

2. Tarot
Sony Pictures | NEW
Opening Weekend Range: $7 – $10M


  • The film’s original title was “Horrorscope,” but the studio decided to change it to the more generic Tarot in an apparent bid to mimic Blumhouse’s success with 2014’s Ouija ($103.6M WW) and 2016’s Ouija: Origin of Evil ($81.7M WW). Like those films, Tarot takes its name and central concept from a centuries-old spiritual practice that has been exploited as a parlor game in recent years. While the ploy is obvious, the simple high concept combined with name recognition should go a long way with awareness.
  • Most of the big horror releases of 2024 cost between $10M and $30M. The days of a well-crafted but inexpensive genre entry like Get Out ($4.5M budget/$255M gross) or It Follows ($1.3M budget/$23.3M gross) making an impact while also becoming cash cows for studios/theaters appear to be going out of style. However, Tarot looks to reverse that trend with a reported budget of just $8 million, meaning most of Sony’s spending will be on its all-digital marketing campaign eschewing TV spots. The wide opening in 3000 locations means even if the movie fails to deliver with audiences, Tarot will take the money and run.


As of yet, there are no reviews for Tarot, which is always a bad sign. The trailer looks pretty generic, with the usual disposable-looking hot teens dabbling with black arts they don’t understand until it’s too late. Screenwriter Spenser Cohen is making his feature directorial debut, and his three prior efforts as a scribe have all been poorly reviewed as well as poorly attended for those that opened theatrically:

  • Extinction (2018) – 32% RT Score
  • Moonfall (2022) – 35% RT Score
  • Expend4bles (2023) -14% RT Score

Then there’s the genre itself. Horror is typically ultra dependable, you can set your watch to it. Yet, so far 2024 has seen a lot of domestic under-performers to-date…

  • Night Swim – $11.7M Opening / $32.4M Cume
  • Imaginary – $9.9M Opening / $28M Cume
  • The First Omen – $8.3M Opening / $19.3M Cume
  • Abigail – $10.2M Opening / $19.1M Cume
  • Immaculate – 5.3M Opening / $15.6M Cume

These films may all eventually turn a profit, but we have yet to see a breakthrough title from the genre at the box office in 2024.

3. Challengers
Amazon MGM Studios | Week 2
Weekend Range: $7 – $10M


  • It scored a $15M opening at #1 last weekend, remarkable for an original R-rated romantic sports drama in this day and age. As we mentioned on Sunday, the bulk of that goodwill was undoubtedly generated by star Zendaya, who proved she could open a film on her own without a webslinger or sandworm in sight.
  • The critical trickle-down is solid, with 89% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. While The Fall Guy might attract more couples this weekend, Amazon has stated that they’ve recorded many women buying tickets in groups of friends for Challengers, and in the end, that might be enough to trounce Tarot for the #2 spot. With the kind of goodwill this film has generated, it’s hard to imagine more than a 50% drop in its second frame.


  • The “B+” CinemaScore and 76% RT Audience Score suggests Challengers may have had a small measure of challenging word-of-mouth since it debuted, meaning those who are on the bubble about getting their date night fix from this, or The Fall Guy may hedge towards the latter.
  • The youthful ménage à trois antics of the main characters may not play as well in more conservative parts of the country. This is not in any way, shape, or form a four-quadrant movie.
© Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Eric Laciste/Universal Pictures