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Meltdown at the Multiplex

deadpool & wolverine
The last decade’s reliance on recycling came as audiences began mostly showing up in theaters for outright event movies and treating marquee characters as much bigger butts-in-seats movie stars than actual actors/actresses. Courtesy of Disney
Scott Mendelson
April 15, 2024

The Fall Guy, Universal’s Ryan GoslingEmily Blunt caper, set to open May 3, is the first big film of the summer season since 2006 that is not a Marvel movie. (Deadpool & Wolverine moved to July…) Early tracking for Fall Guy suggests a $33 million debut—a number that seems poised to grow given the strong reviews and likely prerelease buzz. And while $33 million would be a solid opening weekend for a high-concept, star-driven original—yes, yes, the film is technically and loosely based on a 1980s TV show—it would also be a hell of a lot less than the $118 million posted by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over the same weekend last May.

This affirms the conundrum of our moment. For the first time since at least 2019, most of the big Hollywood players came to CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week fully on board with the notion of prioritizing theatrical over theoretical streaming glory. But thanks to the past four years of Covid-related disruptions, a retrospectively foolhardy push to streaming, and twin labor strikes that led to delays for films, like Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, that would have otherwise opened this year, the movie business faces another grim annual marketplace with too few movies.