'First Man' Box Office: One Giant Flop for Ryan Gosling?

Universal Studios still hopes Neil Armstrong biopic can go the distance.

Can a dramatic retelling of the moon landing compete at the box office with comic book antics and Lady Gaga? When it comes to First Man, which hit theaters on October 12 starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the answer may be a resounding no.

First Man reportedly cost $60 million to make and earned just $16.2 million at 3,521 venues in its opening weekend. By comparison, Venom earned $35.7 million in its second weekend, while a Star is Born (also in its second week of release and starring Lady Gaga opposite Bradley Cooper) raked in $28 million.

Directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land), First Man tells the dramatic story of Neil Armstrong’s mission to the moon, focusing on the drama of his home life and the clear danger of sending humans into space on a ship that essentially amounted to a bucket of bolts with the computing power of an iPhone.

'First Man'

Universal Pictures

Ahead of First Man’s release, the film was expected to earn over $20 million in its opening weekend, with some analysts even claiming it could pass $25 million. It may have failed to hit that benchmark, but distributor Universal Studios says there’s still no reason for concern.

First Man has earned mostly positive reviews, and Universal distribution president Jim Orr seems confident that the film, which targets an older audience that may be less likely to rush to the theater upon release, has legs beyond its opening weekend.

The movie also clearly has the Academy Awards in its crosshairs. So it could stick around in theaters for months assuming it earns some nominations — and even longer if it actually wins at the Oscars.

“This weekend’s results are a just a starting point,” Orr told Variety.

First Man is in theaters now.

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