Solo: A Star Wars Story off to a weak start

Published on: 29th May 2018

Film earns just $83.3m over its Memorial Day weekend debut, a little more than half what Rogue One amassed during its debut in 2016 ($155m).

As reported by ICv2, the figure brings the latest Disney film in well under the $120-130m estimates of many analysts. Despite a North American opening estimated at $101m (over the full four day holiday) and $65 million overseas, each of the three previous Disney/Lucasfilm Star Wars movies earned over a billion dollars, while Solo will likely struggle to earn half of that total. Solo was also developed by the directing team of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street), who were replaced after shooting had started by Ron Howard, a process that necessitated reshoots and ballooned the film’s budget to a reported $300m before prints and marketing.

Industry insiders have speculated that perhaps Disney been caught “going to the well once too often” – Solo opened just four months after Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi left the theatres, where previously Disney had opened its Star Wars films in December, a full year apart. It’s also possible that fan dissatisfaction with The Last Jedi was more widespread than analysts believed.

Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean 5, which earned a franchise low $172m in North America but $794m overseas, the Star Wars franchise has always had to rely more on North America. Solo’s $65m overseas debut is especially poor because the film opened in every major territory in the world except Japan, so overseas earnings won’t be coming to the rescue. Solo earned just $10m in China, a very poor showing in the world’s second biggest market.

However, it’s worth noting that Solo will face little in the way of blockbuster competition until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens on 22nd June, and while the film’s CinemaScore was down from those of the three previous Disney Star Wars films, it was still a solid “A-”. Solo also has a decent 72% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

With such a disappointing debut, only time will tell if Solo can achieve anything representing profitability.



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