In the largest disturbance yet in Disney's otherwise lucrative reign over Star Wars, the Han Solo spinoff, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ opened well below expectations with a franchise-low $83.3 million in ticket sales over the three-day weekend in North American theaters.
Going with this trend, Disney anticipated that Solo would mint around $101 million by the end of its four day long weekend. The numbers are much below the opening weekend collections of Star Wars prequels.
In the international markets, 'Solo', starring Alden Ehrenreich in the role made iconic by Harrison Ford, grossed $65 million in its opening weekend, including a paltry $10.1 million in China. The numbers are bad and are nothing one would expect for a film like Solo.
"Of course we would have hoped for this to be a bit bigger," said Dave Hollis, Disney's distribution chief. "We're encouraged by the response that people have had to the film. It got a good CinemaScore (A-minus). The exits are very encouraging."
‘Solo’ came in with a Millennium Falcon's worth of baggage following the mid-production firing of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who were replaced by Ron Howard. With the rejiggered production, the budget soared well past $250 million.
An overdose of Star Wars series can also be considered to be a reason behind the disastrous box office collection made by Solo. Star Wars: The Last Jedi exited the theatres just a month before Solo hit the screens, and hence, the poor performance.
Solo notched the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening in several years, but it also came on the heels of a pair of a summer-sized blockbusters — Deadpool 2 and Disney's own Avengers Infinity War — making for an unusually crowded May. Infinity War added $16.5 million in its fifth weekend to bring its domestic total to $621.7 million and its global sales to $1.9 billion — both among the highest of all-time.
"It is a business that is built on momentum but also one where people probably are only able to get to theaters a certain number of weeks in a row," said Hollis.
But there were also questions beyond the effect the calendar had on Solo. While reviews were generally positive (71 percent "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes), there was little about "Solo" that made the movie a must-see event.
Fans were skeptical of Ehrenreich and uncertain about the dismissal of Lord and Miller (the popular filmmaking duo behind 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie). Unlike any Star Wars release before, Solo was deemed — gasp — skippable.