Solo May Be First Star Wars Movie Ever To Lose Money
The new Star Wars spinoff movie, Solo, is looking like a commercial disappointment, at least in some regards. An analyst told The Hollywood Reporter that the sci-fi film is expected to lose $50 million or more, while other sources told the site the loss could be even worse: $80 million or more.
The movie opened at the end of May and made a disappointing $101 million in the US and Canada over its first weekend. For its second weekend, it made only $29.3 million domestically. Worldwide, the movie has made $264 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Solo had a reported production budget of $250 million, while Lucasfilm spent many millions more to advertise the film. Additionally, the movie surely incurred another extra cost after Lucasfilm fired original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller just 11 months before the movie hit theatres. Oscar winner Ron Howard was brought on to take over, and Lucasfilm paid him and covered the cost of whatever re-shoots were needed.
Solo is the first of the new Star Wars movies to not open in December, and it comes just five months after the release of The Last Jedi in December 2017. Some believe Solo's underperformance is due at least in part to "Star Wars fatigue."
According to THR, Solo will likely top out at around $400 million globally, which is very low compared to the three previous Star Wars films. Each of them--The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi--cleared $1 billion each during their theatrical runs. While Solo may not be a hit on the same scale as those, it will make more money from Blu-ray/DVD sales and whatever deals Lucasfilm cuts with other places where the movie may air like airplanes and streaming networks.
The analyst who predicted the $50 million loss for Solo, Barton Crockett, said Solo's performance is a "tough return to movie reality" for Disney.
Doug Creutz of research firm Cowen & Company said in a note to investors today that Solo might be the first Star Wars movie ever to lose money. Despite that, Creutz said suggestions that the entire Star Wars franchise is now at risk of underperforming are "totally off base." Among other things, Creutz said he doesn't think "Star Wars fatigue" is a real thing. The "biggest problem" with Solo, according to Creutz, was how the movie was marketed. The first trailer for Solo was released 108 days before the movie came out, compared to 247 for Rogue One. This led to a shorter "hype window" for Lucasfilm, he said. Not only that, but Creutz remarked that Lucasfilm failed to sell the audience on Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, with the full marketing machine for Solo not kicking in until about a month before release, which was too late.
Disney is of course a film juggernaut, and whatever Solo's underperformance amounts to financially will not derail the Star Wars franchise or hurt the company in any meaningful way. Disney has already had two giant hits this year, as Black Panther made $1.345 billion worldwide and Avengers: Infinity War pulled in $1.966 billion. Disney's next big movie is The Incredibles 2, which comes out next week
Despite Solo's slow start, Disney is of course moving forward on more Star Wars movies. The next one is Episode IX in December 2019, while Disney is also reportedly planning standalone films for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lando Calrissian, and Boba Fett. Just recently, we learned that Logan director James Mangold may be directing the Boba Fett movie. Additionally, Disney hired the creators of Game of Thrones for a new Star Wars film series, while The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is making his own new trilogy of saga films after JJ Abrams' Episode IX next year.