‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is plummeting faster than 12 parsecs. In its second weekend, it finished with $29.3 million. That’s considerably lower than the second weekends of the three previous Disney ‘Star Wars’ movies AND 20th Century Fox’s prequels. At this rate, ‘Solo’ will likely end its US theatrical run with approximately $225M. Its budget was north of $250M, inflated due to massive reshoots when Ron Howard took over directing after the ousting of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. That means that ‘Solo’ will lose money, especially once promotion and advertising are factored in.
Toy sales won’t help pad the bottom line. As Deadline‘s Anthony D’Alessandro put it, “Franchise pics that bomb don’t yield toy sales, especially in this landscape with Toys R Us out of business, a toy retailer that owned a 15% market share.” He pointed out that merchandise sales for ‘The Last Jedi’ were expected to make $600M, but only took in $450M. And that movie was considered a hit. Basically, if you have your eye on a spiffy new Lando action figure, just wait. It’s not going anywhere until Target decides to mark it down for clearance.
The international market won’t save ‘Solo’. It’s failing to connect abroad and in fact, for this weekend, ‘Deadpool 2’ was the #1 movie in the world. It had opened in that position, but dropped last weekend when ‘Solo’ came out, but audiences quickly decided they weren’t interested in that, allowing the Merc with a Mouth to return to the top spot.
At this point, there’s no need to belabor the “what went wrong?” question, but it simply seems that the average moviegoer just didn’t view this movie as a must-see and a movie can’t succeed if all it can draw is die-hards.
But those that saw it enjoyed it. It got an “A-” CinemaScore and 87% PostTrak score. But for whatever reason, word of mouth isn’t rescuing this pic. Looks like too many people have already made up their minds that ‘Solo’ wasn’t worth their time and money and are skipping it.
As a result of ‘Solo”s weak performance, this was one of the worst post-Memorial Day weekends ever. The other studios expected ‘Solo’ to be massive, so none of them scheduled a big premiere for this weekend. (‘Deadpool 2’ was originally slotted to open here, but Fox bumped it to May 18 to get ahead of ‘Solo’.)
In its third weekend, ‘Deadpool 2’ made $23.3M and remains comfortably settled in at #2. It doesn’t seem that this sequel is getting anywhere near the buzz of the first movie, nor is it expected to ultimately make as much, but that is the norm for sequels. By the time it finishes its theatrical run, ‘Deadpool 2’ should have made north of $300M, which, yes, is more than ‘Solo’ is expected to make. And ‘Deadpool 2’ was a hell of a lot cheaper to make, so it will turn a nice hefty profit. On top of that, ‘Deadpool’ sells a lot of merchandise… A. LOT.
Once again, no studio scheduled a huge movie for this weekend. The low key, female-targeted romance thriller ‘Adrift’ starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin took in $11.5M. Not a huge figure, but considering how inexpensive it was to make, it only needs to hit $30M to break even. Anything above that is icing on the cake.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney) – $29.3M
- Deadpool 2 (20th Century Fox) – $23.3M
- Adrift (STX) – $11.5M
- Avengers: Infinity War (Disney) – $10.3M
- Book Club (Paramount) – $6.8M
Next weekend, I predict that ‘Ocean’s Eight’ will be #1. In a more competitive market, it might not achieve that, but with ‘Solo’ dropping so quickly, the all-star comedy should easily take the crown. This extension to the ‘Ocean’s’ property was directed by Gary Ross (‘The Hunger Games’) and stars Sandra Bullock, Awkwafina, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Dakota Fanning, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and Rihanna. Matt Damon reprises his role as Linus Caldwell from the previous movies to create a bridge connecting them. Carl Reiner also returns as Saul Bloom.
Competition will really get stiff the following week, with the release of ‘The Incredible 2’ but that will be followed on the June 22nd weekend by ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ which is expected to open with anywhere between $130-$150M. But… I mean… that is the exact same prediction for ‘Solo’ and that failed to live up to it. Can dinosaurs succeed where a rogue space cowboy failed? Check back to find out!