Why Did SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Fail At The Box Office So Spectacularly This Weekend?

Solo: A Star Wars Story crashed and burned this weekend with a $148 million debut at the worldwide box office but what led to Lucasfilm's first flop and where did things go wrong? Here's an in-depth look.

There's always one. Every year, a blockbuster is released which surprises everyone by failing to live up to expectations at the box office regardless of good or bad reviews. Last year, Transformers: The Last Knight pretty much killed that franchise but who could have guessed that a Star Wars movie would underperform as badly as Solo has this weekend at the domestic and international box offices?

With a $148 million start worldwide, there's no denying that the spinoff isn't performing anywhere near as well as it should, especially when initial projections in North America pointed to a $140 million debut! So, where exactly did things go wrong for a movie which initially had so much promise? 

That's what we're taking a look at today in this in-depth breakdown of what might have led to Solo: A Star Wars Story potentially being Lucasfilm's first flop. We also have comments from Disney on the movie's performance, so be sure to click the "View List" button below to check out this list in full.


Blockbuster Fatigue



Avengers: Infinity War only came out four weeks ago and Deadpool 2 was close to breaking box office records just seven days before Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters. Seeing a movie on the big screen isn't as simple as flicking on Netflix and paying a monthly subscription; it's an expensive hobby and one which the majority of people can't afford that many times within the space of a month or so. 

Throw in the fact that a huge chunk of moviegoers go and see blockbusters like the ones above on multiple occasions and Solo probably wasn't a priority. In fact, many analysts believe that people are now holding off for Jurassic World:
Fallen Kingdom, a sequel which is something most probably feel is the safe choice given the massive popularity of the first instalment and the big name, A-List cast.
 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi



I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Last Jedi but it's no secret that a lot of people hated it and felt Lucasfilm handled the original characters in a way which was unforgivable. Throw in a number of other controversial creative decisions and Rian Johnson's sequel may have soured moviegoers on the franchise so much that five months later was simply too soon to return to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
 

Behind The Scenes Drama



You might not think that the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller would bother moviegoers all that much but the fact that the behind the scenes drama was so highly publicised seemingly didn't help matters. With all that talk of extensive reshoots and two filmmakers responsible for a lot of well-liked movies being unceremoniously fired, it seems that created a lot of negativity around this one from the start.

Disney and Lucasfilm failing to do anything to counter all those reports by releasing some new intel or imagery also can't have helped matters and so it seems Solo felt the Fantastic Four effect as a result.

 

A Near Non-Existent Marketing Campaign



We didn't get our first official look at Solo until some LEGO packaging leaked online in January and Lucasfilm responded to that by...saying it was fake?! Seriously, what the f*** was that all about? 

The studio made the wise decision to promote the spinoff during the Super Bowl but that and the trailer came in February, a mere three months before the movie hit 
theaters. That gave fans and regular moviegoers alike very little time to get excited about this one and the smart move would have been to promote it alongside The Last Jedi in December. Instead, Lucasfilm pretended it didn't exist!

It's a strange approach to marketing a movie and the studio needs to learn to focus on more than one project at a time moving forward because the underwhelming approach to the movie was a killer.

 

Too Soon For More Star Wars



A yearly approach to Star Wars movies has worked well for Disney and Lucasfilm up until now so why on Earth was the decision made to have Solo follow The Last Jedi just five months later? There's only a gap of a few months between every Marvel movie, sure, but the fact that they're all connected has made them serialised; promoting two very different films set in the Star Wars Universe in such close proximity was never going to be easy and giving them a little more space could have been smart.

That's not an excuse, however, and there's no reason why we couldn't enjoy at least two new Star Wars movies a year. Unfortunately, it seems that is indeed currently too much for a lot of fans. 

Han Solo Without Harrison Ford Isn't Han Solo



Alden Ehrenreich's performance in Solo was nothing short of fantastic but Han Solo is an iconic character and that's because of Harrison Ford. For all but extremely young moviegoers who may not have seen one of these movies before, the vast majority probably grew up with Ford in the role and so seeing someone else essentially "imitate" him just isn't the same or ultimately what they wanted.

This obviously doesn't bode well for future spinoffs which recast key characters and it could be a sign that Lucasfilm is better off focusing on new stories and attempting to make those work instead.

 

A Lack Of Glowing Reviews



Like it or lump it, sites like Rotten Tomatoes make a huge difference these days and with so many movies in theaters, people are having to be more selective than ever about what they choose to see and when. With a score of 70%, Solo hasn't done badly but that's not the sort of figure which is going to result in people racing out to check this one out because the reviews are massively glowing. 

According to the Critics Consensus, "A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the
 door." This isn't a badly reviewed film but does that excite you at first glance?
 

Expectations Were Too High



The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi were all well-reviewed, enjoyable movies and while I personally believe the same could and should be said about Solo, perhaps the fact it focuses on such an iconic character led to expectations being far too high because everyone had certain thoughts and feelings about his origin story should be handled. When it became apparent that those weren't going to be met, there's a chance that a lot of fans simply decided to tune out and not pay attention. 
 

Is It Really A Failure?



Solo: A Star Wars Story has been branded a failure and box office flop but is that actually accurate? 

While it may feature established characters, it doesn't feature a big name cast and despite the "Star Wars" label stuck on there, it is essentially an original sci-fi movie which takes us to new locations and doesn't rely on the Jedi and Sith tropes of the past. A $101 million debut at the North American box office for a mid-range blockbuster is no bad thing but the main problem here are those reshoots.

Even if it manages to crack $500 million, it's such an expensive movie that it could still be considered a disappointment and that may mean Disney shies away from telling this sort of story in the future. 

 

A Large Percentage Of The Star Wars Fanbase Is Toxic And Has Rejected The Franchise Due To A Larger Focus On Diversity And Female Characters



Well, this makes the most sense, to be honest.
 

What Disney Says



How does Disney feel about this news? After acknowledging that the movie was one of 2018's most highly anticipated releases at the start of the year and that "it’s surprising for the film to have not done the business as we have hoped," Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis is remaining positive.

"It’s disappointing when tracking is unpredictable when you get to levels like this and setting up expectations outside of where the film is landing. But, we come into a Memorial Day that’s doing a ton of business for the industry, and the last four weeks have been the biggest. It’s great for the business. Sure, Deadpool 2 jumping in front of the release and how available people turned out this weekend are factors, but with
Solo we have a film that’s well received with great exits, and we have nothing in front of us for two weekends. We’ll measure the success of Solo at its finish."

It's definitely going to be interesting seeing how Solo does in the coming weeks and months but it's clearly not meeting expectations. Whether or not it will be branded a failure by the time all is said and done remains to be seen. Either way, no one could have seen this coming six months ago!

Where do you think things went wrong with Solo: A Star Wars Story? Did you give it a miss this weekend? If so, why? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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