‘The Fall Guy’ Fizzles With $28 Million in Ticket Sales

“The Fall Guy” seemed to have everything.

Megawatt stars. Death-defying stunts. Splendid reviews. An original story — what sequel-weary moviegoers say they want.

Universal backed “The Fall Guy” with a six-month marketing campaign, releasing trailers that racked up 400 million views and carpet-bombing televised sporting events, including the Super Bowl, with ads.

It added up to only $28.5 million in North American ticket sales from Friday to Sunday, the worst start to Hollywood’s all-important summer season since 1995. “The Fall Guy” cost Universal at least $200 million to make and market and was released in 4,002 theaters in the United States and Canada. It collected an additional $37 million overseas.

This is why studios do not take risks on new stories. “The business is so tough, and it’s so hard to break through with new ideas,” said David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a newsletter on box office numbers. “You want to explain to shareholders why you spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a newfangled idea that crashed?”

“The Fall Guy,” an action comedy, shares a name and some basic D.N.A. with a television drama that ran on ABC from 1981 to 1986. But the movie’s story is entirely new. Scott Mendelson, a box office columnist with his own subscription newsletter, said moviegoers complain that Hollywood isn’t making enough original films, “only to stay home or go elsewhere when they do.”

Ryan Gosling, fresh off “Barbie” and a celebrated singing performance at the Academy Awards, plays a down-on-his-luck stunt man who gets caught up in a murder mystery while trying to rekindle a romantic relationship. Emily Blunt plays a movie director. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Waddingham and Jason Momoa round out “The Fall Guy” cast.

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