Solo: A Star Wars Story was estimated to make a solid if un-Star Wars worthy opening around $130 million over the four day Memorial Day weekend.
Instead, it fared worse with Sunday estimates suggesting Solo will ‘only’ bring in $110 million. By comparison, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gobbled up $155 million it’s opening weekend. What led to Solo’s box office struggles? Here’s four main reasons.
Too much competition
Blame the jam packed schedule. Solo was the third major blockbuster in five weeks. With Avengers: Infinity War ($16.5 million in its fourth week) still a dominant force and Deadpool 2 ($42.7 million) in its second week the timing wasn’t ideal to release another film fighting for the same audience.
Star Wars fatigue?
Walt Disney has released a new Star Wars film the last four years. 20th Century Fox had a far less aggressive release schedule in releasing six Star Wars films over 28 years. There’s something to be said for building anticipation.
That certainly helped make Star Wars: The Force Awakens feel like a major event as it destroyed box office records. Solo arrived just five months after The Last Jedi, which features core elements people come to see in Star Wars films namely lightsabers, Jedi and Skywalkers.
Star Wars can’t follow the Marvel blueprint
Marvel Studios has proven there’s demand for its voracious fan base. With a plethora of characters and ability to seamlessly transition into various genres, Marvel can switch from spy thriller (Black Panther) to comedy heist (Ant-Man) to high school coming of age (Spider-Man: Homecoming).
Star Wars can have some variances of the same theme, but ultimately there’s going to be stormtroopers, Tie Fighters and a lightsaber battle. That doesn’t necessarily lend itself to annual installments without some diminishing returns.
Solo just might not have been needed
One of the biggest questions from the moment the film was announced was if a Han Solo prequel was necessary. For a lot of fans there’s only one Han Solo and that’s not Alden Ehrenreich.
Had a Solo spin-off featured a Han and Chewbacca adventure pre Force Awakens the response and reception might have been remarkably different. Solo’s struggles suggest Walt Disney can’t just slap Star Wars in the title and expect the millions to roll in.
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures