Say what you want about the Disney era of Star Wars (some love it, others loathe it), there’s no denying that it has been doing tremendously at the global box office. Well, all except one: Solo: A Star Wars Story. While The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi all successfully grossed more than $US 1 billion each — heck TFA is one of five movies to gross more than $US 2 billion — Solo sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The second Star Wars anthology film raked in a mere $US 392 million at the global box office, making it the lowest grossing Star Wars film of all time. That’s right, without even taking inflation into consideration, Solo made less money than Return of the Jedi, a film that came out in 1983.
We haven’t even considered the film’s budget and marketing cost. Experts suggest that due to the extensive cost studios spend on marketing, a movie needs to make approximately twice its production budget globally, before actually seeing profits. Solo had a $US 275 million production budget; $US 550 million once you multiply that by 2. This means that the Ron Howard directed Solo which went through production hell, did not even recover its budget.
Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via LRM), Ron Howard was asked for his thoughts on Solo’s abysmal box office numbers. Howard provided the following reasons:
“Maybe it’s the idea that it’s too nostalgic. That going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for. It seemed to me looking at the opening, big but not as big as the others, I think that was [only] the hardcore fans. [The drop-off] tells you how many people are tagalongs who need to wait to see what people think or if it’s essential, if it’s a zeitgeist movie or not. It didn’t hit the zeitgeist, for whatever reason.
[There wasn’t so much hate on] the Twitter feed,” Howard added, “but it was notable prior to the release of the movie in several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. There was an inordinate push down on the ‘want to see’ and on the fan voting. Some friends from Silicon Valley explained to me how it works. Under that circumstance, I did not take it personally at all but I felt badly.”
On the podcast, Howard also talks briefly about the film’s memorial day release date and competing directly with Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. I couldn’t agree more. While there’s no denying the film’s lacklustre reviews certainly didn’t help it at the box office, Solo definitely set itself up for monetary failure by hitting the theatres in May. The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi were all Christmas releases and had the entire month of December and January to their own. Considering Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is getting a Christmas release as well, expect it to make more than $US 1 billion as well, perhaps even $US 1.5 billion.
(Source: Happy Sad Confused Podcast)