Has Hollywood hit “Star Wars” overload?
That’s what industry insiders are wondering after the opening weekend of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, which came in well below estimates at the box office in its much-hyped debut.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Star Wars” prequel about the early years of Han Solo (with Alden Ehrenreich playing the younger version of the character originated by Harrison Ford) is on track for a three-day domestic take of $83.3 million in its opening weekend — a far cry from the $155 million that “Rogue One” brought in domestically in its opening weekend in 2016.
The news is far worse internationally, with the film falling well short of estimates to bring in just $65 million after “Solo” was predicted to earn $148 million in international markets.
The dire numbers, Disney’s worldwide distribution chief Dave Hollis tells Deadline, will definitely result in some soul searching at the studio.
“We came into the beginning of the year with this one of the most anticipated films,” said Hollis. “We gotta spend some time looking at the exits and get a better handle on all the questions.”
However, the reason behind the disappointing box office could be as simple as “Star Wars” fatigue; while “Star Wars” films were once seen as cinema events, it seems that the more movies are made, the less interest audiences have in seeing them.
“I think Disney got caught milking the ‘Star Wars’ franchise a little too much,” a source told Deadline. “Everyone acknowledged the risk of releasing another movie five months after ‘Jedi’. They really should have pushed ‘Solo’ to Christmas.”
Hollis, however, begs to differ. “This is just the fourth movie and the first three did $4 billion combined. I’m not sure it’s so much that people aren’t excited for additional stories,” he explained, noting that the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to churn out new adventures that do huge business at the box office.
“We’re in a world where we’re in the same conference rooms planning Marvel movies. We have a ‘Thor’ and a ‘Black Panther’ and an ‘Infinity War’ coming out in November and February and May and each are massively successful. They each do well and people aren’t asking these questions.”
Meanwhile, the film’s troubled production can’t be ignored, with original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller jettisoned from the project three weeks before production was set to end; veteran director Ron Howard brought in to take over.
While Ehrenreich revealed he’s contracted for two “Solo” sequels, the fate of any future Han Solo movies appears precarious given the lacklustre box office.