Disney-Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story opened to less than expected on opening weekend, causing a subset of Star Wars fans to lay blame on the controversial Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Lucasfilm’s sophomore Star Wars standalone — this one centered on a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) — holds the record for highest preview night take ever for a Memorial Day weekend release, but came in well behind expectations with $101 million.
This gives the Ron Howard-directed Star Wars prequel the brands’ lowest live-action opening, a disappointment for the well-received Solo that was previously projected to bring in as much as $130 million — $150 million over the holiday weekend.
“We are all over it, and will spend a lot of time digging into why things happened the way they did,” Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told The Hollywood Reporter of Solo underperforming.
Disney, who has released a Star Wars film once a year since 2015, doesn’t believe franchise fatigue or oversaturation is to blame for Solo’s less-than-expected box office performance.
“We have a year and a half before Episode IX comes out. We've had so much success,” Hollis said. “The previous three Star Wars films did $4 billion worth of of business at the box office, so it doesn't feel like saturation is necessarily an issue, but we are still answering all of the questions.”
Followup to franchise revival The Force Awakens and the eighth installment of the episodic Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi opened in December to massive numbers — $220 million — and went on to become the 11th highest-grossing movie of all time with a worldwide box office haul of $1.3 billion. The film peaked in 9th place, having since been pushed back by Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
Even as Solo wins the weekend box office, coming just weeks after massive hits Avengers: Infinity War and the just-released Deadpool 2, some Star Wars fans are pointing blame at The Last Jedi for leaving a bitter taste in the mouth — something they say has spilled over onto Solo.
The Last Jedi has the lowest audience score of any live-action Star Wars movie on Rotten Tomatoes with 46% “liked it,” and the vitriol the film has since elicited was addressed by writer-director Rian Johnson in a talk with Business Insider and again on Twitter.
“The goal is never to divide or make people upset,” Johnson wrote of the polarizing reaction to The Last Jedi. “But I do think the conversations that are happening were going to have to happen at some point if [Star Wars] is going to grow, and move forward and stay vital.”
Backlash birthed by The Last Jedi has some fans calling for a boycott of Solo, claiming Johnson’s film “destroyed the saga.”
Yikes.. Looks like empty theaters for #SoloAStarWarsStory overseas today. It's not just fans on a #BoycottSolo mission, but people are turned off on #StarWars after The Last Jedi. pic.twitter.com/vjFIPZDvGF— Dataracer (@Dataracer117) May 24, 2018
No the disappointing opening of Solo is mainly because so many die hard fans were upset with The Last Jedi, which I still think was a disappointing movie. Less die hard Star Wars fans care about Solo because of how they feel Disney has done with the reboots.— Logan Carney (@Lucky_9_9) May 27, 2018
The Last Jedi is the only reason this didn't do AT LEAST as good as Rogue One. Since Disney/Lucasfilm would not listen to the fans cries, they've resorted to using their wallets instead. All that is expected is for respect and love to be put into our beloved franchise.— SYNCHRONIC DESIGN (@SYNCHRONICDSGN) May 27, 2018
Listen @RobertIger , It’s not @starwars Fatigue that’s the problem, we’re upset with @rianjohnson #lastJedi and the treatment of @HamillHimself and other characters. I don’t have @MarvelStudios Fatigue. Kathleen and Rian need to go.#LiberalThatHatesTheLastJedi #LastJediAwful— Geek Illustrator Dad (@EhNam) May 27, 2018
I watched solo ... it was good and brilliant compared to the crap of the last Jedi... it had a good plot .... good star wars science... and great action... @rianjohnson ... only 6 people in the cinema.. this must be from TLJ backlash...I missed the force sensitive characters— Kevstar (@Kevstar32981877) May 27, 2018
It’s not Star Wars fatigue...its being utterly played for a fool with The Last Jedi and then hearing all the production woes with this movie..fans got slapped with Jedi basically saying everything in force awakens that you love we threw out...as a fan not getting my money— Arpan Sikder (@Arpan55) May 27, 2018
Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Woody Harrelson, and Paul Bettany, Solo: A Star Wars Story is now playing.