'Solo' Passes Surprising Star Wars Movie at the Box Office

Solo: A Star Wars Story may have been a box office disappointment, but it's no longer the lowest-performing installment of the Star Wars franchise -- sort of.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is currently sitting at a domestic gross of $210 million, a number that puts it just slightly ahead of the $209.4 million domestic gross of 1980's The Empire Strikes Back if you look at that film's box office numbers without adjustments for inflation and don't include reissues. Under those parameters, Solo is now ninth out of ten movies, though if you account for inflation and the two reissues -- one in 1982 and one in 1997 -- of Empire, the Han Solo origin story slides back into last place.

While the straight, unadjusted numbers will be either welcome news or simply splitting hairs depending on what side of the ever-growing Star Wars fan divide you're on, Forbes points out that Solo's box office numbers reflect a handful of variables worth examining outside of the Star Wars context. Solo's overall domestic numbers are similar to other fan-driven Memorial Day weekend releases -- specifically, Forbes noted that 2013's Fast and Furious 6 had a total domestic box office take of $238 million with $117 million of that from opening weekend as compared to Solo's $103 million opening.

What really hurt Solo is its overseas performance. The film fell completely flat overseas and while Star Wars films are a little less successful globally as compared to domestic popularity. Solo's lack of overseas success is notable, but it also wasn't exactly set up for success. Removing all other arguments for why the film underperformed -- such as a May opening and supposed fan backlash over The Last Jedi -- Solo opened between two highly-anticipated and massively successful releases for Disney: Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2. Given the profile of those films, Solo very well may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

However, Solo's underperformance may ultimately end up being just a little bump in the road for both Disney and Star Wars long run. We're just past the halfway point of the calendar year and Disney has already passed the $2 billion mark at the box office and with Ant-Man and the Wasp newly in theaters and some significant releases coming up on the back end of 2018 -- such as Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Christopher Robin -- it's looking like Disney may well break their record $3 billion year back in 2016.

On the Star Wars side of things, while it’s been reported that Lucasfilm is putting additional standalone films on hold, Solo director Ron Howard recently told TMZ that the report may not have been entirely accurate and Lucasfilm itself confirmed that there are still multiple unannounced projects going forward. And the "main" Star Wars universe is definitely going forward. Yesterday it was announced that Keri Russell, best known for her career-making role in Felicity, has joined Star Wars: Episode IX which is due in theaters on December 20, 2019.

And while Solo may not have performed well during its initial theatrical run, it will be interesting to see how the film fares long-term. As most of the live-action Star Wars films have seen some form of reissue, it's not impossible that Solo may someday get a second look and find its legacy redefined -- or at least reconsidered.

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Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.

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