'Solo: A Star Wars Story's Failure Blamed on a Poor Marketing Campaign

Solo: A Star Wars Story has been a box office disappointment. Despite hope that the latest Star Wars installment would rebound in its second week at the box office, the Han Solo origin film floundered again this weekend. Now, a new report blames the film's box office failure soundly on marketing.

In a report to investors, media analyst Doug Cruetz took on the various reasons suggested to be responsible for Solo's dismal box office performance and concluded that the real culprit was poor marketing by Disney.

As those who have been watching and speculating about Solo's box office struggles will tell you there is no shortage of theories about why the film is bringing in such low box office receipts globally. Some of the main theories include production issues, being released too close to The Last Jedi, and fan backlash to The Last Jedi -- a film that is arguably the most polarizing installment in the Star Was franchise thus far. However, as reported by Deadline, Cruetz thinks these reasons aren't to blame, going so far as to point out that the franchise has survived other major disappointments.

"If the franchise was able to survive Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, we have a hard time believing Last Jedi could have done that much damage," Cruetz said.

But if those reasons aren't behind the failure, how exactly does marketing fit in? Cruetz specifically points to a failure to position Alden Ehrenreich's role as young Han Solo and takes it even further to compare Solo's marketing to that of Rogue One.

"The first 35 seconds of the trailer almost exclusively focuses on Felicity Jones as the protagonist Jyn Erso, selling her as a new franchise hero," Cruetz wrote. "The second half is dominated by the Imperial alert klaxon and Forest Whitaker's voice over, and practically screams 'EPIC' at the viewer, before closing on another hero shot of Jones."

Solo's first trailer, in contrast, barely shows Ehrenreich at all, with only approximately 10 seconds of screen time featuring the actor's face. Not enough, according to Cruetz, who also pointed out that the first Rogue One teaser made its debut 247 days before that film's release while Solo's first teaser came out a mere 108 days ahead of the film's debut. That tight timeline appears to be the real crux of Cruetz's argument when it comes to Solo's failure. There simply wasn't enough presented to help build hype for the film especially when other Disney-era Star Wars films have marketing campaigns that run for eight months or more ahead of release.

With Solo not receiving nearly the marketing push as its franchise predecessors, Cruetz appears to be implying that Disney left Solo to survive on the popularity of the Star Wars name alone -- something that turns out to have been a mistake. At this point, Solo: A Star Wars Story will likely not even make back its production costs at the box office, leaving the film to end its run in the red. However, the report was optimistic that the lessons of Solo will help Episode IX when it releases next year -- if Disney learns from them.

"All in all, we expect that 2019's Star Wars Episode IX will do quite well at the box office, probably exceeding Last Jedi, and that other Star Wars Story films will likely average closer to Rogue One than Solo, assuming Disney can execute on quality and marketing."

28comments

Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.

How much of an impact on Solo's box office performance do you think marketing had? Let us know in the comments.