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Solo: A Star Wars Story Dismally Performs with $150M Global Debut

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Solo: A Star Wars Story performed dismally with near-worst-case scenario levels. The Walt Disney company and Lucasfilm production opened with a soft $35.6 million on Friday, which includes $14 million from Thursday previews. During the Fri-Sun holiday, the film cratered at $84.7 million. Base on projections, the film was expected to rake in $101 million from the Fri-Mon frame.

Contemporaries like Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End, and X-Men: The Last Stand, set Memorial Day records. Solo did not manage to set any positive records

The numbers look to be grim in the case of Solo largely due to the large budget involved, about $250-300 million after reshoots. The sci-fi prequel opened with a paltry $103 million over four days with lower figures than films released in earlier years. While the next couple of weeks are set to record decent numbers, and there being no apparent big studio release setup, it’s hard to foresee more than a 2.5 times multiplier effect. The Ron Howard-directed film looks set to rake in a domestic total in the range of $248 million, last documented during The Force Awakens.

Through the years, a precedent has been set where films that start off with poor performances decline in terms of performance. Despite the fact that Lucasfilm released to global audiences, it is highly unlikely that the offshore markets will provide the establishment with a much-needed bailout.

Star Wars was a relatively 50/50 franchise when one takes into account the difference between domestic and overseas splits. Pirates 5 earned about $172.5m in China, a territory where Solo performed dismally with estimates of about $10 million on opening weekend. The total monies recorded from overseas ventures are $65 million. Any possibilities of recovery are much dependent on the near future performance. At present, such a scenario is highly unlikely.


Normally, franchises that get fresh out the gate with $1 billion+ blockbusters aren’t considered flops after delivering a subpar $700 million installment

The great performance of previous Star Wars films, Rogue One’s $1 billion+ success, and the $2 billion success of The Force Awakens likely prompted wild expectations with the release of Solo. The current scenario the franchise faces is the inability of the Solo film doing big numbers. The expected $600 million is a bad look when compared to forebearers who notched $1 billion+ numbers.

Some exceptional films like The Last Jedi and Rian Johnson’s sequel registered impressive numbers and good reviews, yet still got criticized by some as failures. Through it all, the arguments made against the films seemed compelling because they didn’t feature weak reasons like discussions about the race of the cast and gender parity. 

Those in tune with the dynamics involved are obviously aware of the state of the film industry 15 years ago when Batman Begins would have been considered a flop after notching only $371 million after spending $150 million for filming. Other additions to this list are all the non-Iron Man films that earned between $238-449 million worldwide after spending $140-$160 million in budgetary costs.

Looking Ahead

Young Prequel Character Origin Story Spin-Offs are proving to be a bad idea

Thus, all the conversations about Disney ruining the Star Wars narrative should be ignored. This is because it was Lucasfilm’s responsibility to produce the movie. Lucasfilms are renown for their history to stop at nothing when it comes to spending the big bucks even on films considered to be one-offs or with the potential to be great sequels.

Solo is a decent flick and ranks highly in the visual aspects, just like The Good Dinosaur. Going forward, it would be best for companies to assess their risks and not try to play dangerously by coloring outside the lines of conventional wisdom. Many viewers took issue with Solo’s generic blockbuster approach. The casting was a bit commercial oriented since it featured elements like Alden Ehrenreich’s white leading male, Donald Glover as the cool black sidekick and a feisty love interest in Emilia Clarke.

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