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Box Office: ‘The Fall Guy’ Soars With $28.5M, ‘Phantom Menace’ Claims Second Place Over ‘Challengers’

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The weekend box office took audiences on a nostalgic journey back to the ’80s and ’90s. Universal’s “The Fall Guy,” featuring Ryan Gosling and inspired by the 1980s TV series, launched the summer movie season at the top spot, amassing $28.5 million. Meanwhile, Disney’s re-release of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” pleasantly surprised by claiming the second position with $8.1 million.

Although “The Fall Guy” secured the No. 1 spot, its earnings fell slightly short of initial projections of $30 million to $35 million. Overall, the box office experienced a significant decline compared to the same period last year, when Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” debuted to $118.4 million domestically.

This weekend’s box office figures mark a 53 percent decrease from last year and over a 66 percent drop from 2022, when Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” opened to $187.4 million domestically.

With a net budget of $130 million after-tax incentives for filming in Australia, “The Fall Guy” now relies on its favorable A- CinemaScore and positive reviews from the South by Southwest festival to generate buzz through word of mouth and maintain momentum in the upcoming weeks.

Directed by David Leitch, a former stuntman, the film is marketed as a tribute to the stunt community. Fronted by Ryan Gosling, riding high on the success of his Oscar-nominated performance in “Barbie,” the movie follows a retired stuntman who embarks on a mission to find a missing A-list star and rescue a film directed by his ex-partner, portrayed by Emily Blunt. Globally, the film has amassed $65.4 million.

The resurgence of “Phantom Menace” at the box office marks a noteworthy comeback for the film. Initially part of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy in 1999, it was met with mixed reactions and became a subject of ridicule among audiences and Star Wars enthusiasts.

However, over the years, it has garnered appreciation, particularly among younger fans who grew up with the film and with the return of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi for his Disney+ series in 2022. Its re-release coincided with the film’s 25th anniversary and the unofficial Star Wars holiday, May the 4th.

“Phantom Menace” narrowly surpassed Amazon MGM Studios’ “Challengers” for the No. 2 spot. Luca Guadagnino’s tennis drama maintained a solid hold in its second weekend, dropping only 49 percent and accumulating a weekend gross of $7.6 million, bringing its total to $29.4 million. Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist headline the cast.

Sony and Screen Gem’s “Tarot” debuted with a respectable $6.5 million, considering its $8 million budget and unconventional marketing approach, which eschewed traditional methods like TV spots and billboards.

The horror film, revolving around seven friends who inadvertently unleash an evil entity from a cursed deck of Tarot cards, failed to resonate with critics and audiences, receiving an 8 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a low C- CinemaScore. It has grossed $10.2 million globally.

In other Sony news, “Garfield” opened to $22 million internationally. The animated title, featuring Chris Pratt as the voice of the lasagna-loving feline, is set to release in the U.S. on May 24, distributed worldwide by Columbia Pictures except for China.

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