Solo: A Star Wars Story may win its opening weekend at the box office, but the film's overall performance is disappointing.
Originally expected to bring in $130-150 million over the holiday weekend, the Han Solo origin movie is now expected to just barely squeak past $100 million from 4,381 locations. The Ron Howard-directed film isn't doing much better overseas, either, with a paltry $65 million international opening. These numbers make Solo the lowest opening Star Wars film in franchise history with many already declaring the film a complete flop and trying to figure out just where things went wrong.
So, what did go wrong? It turns out that while the numbers are straightforward, the rationale behind them aren't. Given how passionate Star Wars fans can be -- as evidenced by the vocal divide over The Last Jedi last year -- there are wildly differing theories as to why Solo isn't taking off the way Disney and Lucasfilm thought it would. Everything from so-called "Star Wars Fatigue" to backlash from The Last Jedi to even the campaign to save the television show Lucifer is being blamed for Solo's box office performance. In fact, there are so many fan theories as to why the film isn't doing so well that we thought it might be interesting to compile some of the more interesting ones here.
So, without further ado, here are 11 theories as to why Solo: A Star Wars Story is underperforming in theaters. And seriously, some of these theories are a little out there and some are fairly contradictory so may the Force be with you as you try to sort this all out.
For all the handwringing about Solo underperforming (which is dumb but let’s follow this) because of the Last Jedi or competition or whatever, maybe the real culprit is that none of it looked really interesting and the marketing for it didn’t really start until recently?— ☕ (@coopercooperco) May 27, 2018
Kicking off our roundup is the simplest and potentially most rational theory as to why Solo's box office numbers are lacking: poor marketing. Many fans on Twitter have pointed out that there really wasn't much in the way of a marketing push until very recently as compared to other films. The first official Solo trailer debuted back in February, a mere three months ahead of the film's theatrical release. Some have compared this to the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War which was released back in November. At the time that trailer was released the film was roughly six months away from its release (though Infinity War's release date was eventually moved up slightly) so, for some, it seems like there just wasn't enough promotion for enough time to get fans really hyped for Solo, leading to poor box office performance now.
The STAR WARS franchise was eventually going to have a "flop." (Not that I agree, just using the term for the sake of argument.) So will Marvel Studios.
Or, you can judge by the quality and not box office. SOLO was fine, if slight. How much it makes isn't relevant to me.— Alan Cerny (@AlanCernyCS) May 27, 2018
You can't win 'em all.
That seems to be another popular theory among fans. As many have pointed out, the Star Wars franchise has seen some huge consecutive successes and that's a streak that isn't sustainable. Even in franchises where every film is deemed financially successful -- the Marvel Cinematic Universe for example -- there still hast to be that one movie that doesn't do as well as the others. In the case of Star Wars, that may very well be Solo.
Solo's box office has less to do with Star Wars fatigue and more to do with the fact that no one wanted to see anyone but Ford as Solo. Should've been a Lando movie with a Han cameo.— Go Ninja Go Ninja Go (@MPRealVol) May 27, 2018
Solo movie? Awesome idea. Anyone but Harrison Ford as Han Solo? Not so much. Another popular theory as to why Solo's box office take is less than impressive that only Ford can be Han Solo. No matter that Alden Ehrenreich did a capabale job of portraying a pre-swagger Han Solo (or that no one will ever be Ford other than Harrison Ford,) some think that people just weren't interested in seeing a film about a young Han Solo. Some fans took that idea one step further declaring that what Solo should have been was a Lando movie featuring some Han Solo cameo time -- especially now that fans have gotten to see Donald Glover in the Lando role.
#SoloAStarWarsStory was literally the worst Star Wars movie. It ruined my childhood idol and honestly was a waste of my life. I miss Harrison Ford.... #solosucks #fucksolo #Harrisonforlife #HarrisonFord #Harrisondiditbest #fuckDisney pic.twitter.com/L2wcH3H3dk— 魔法少年 (@Blood_Daddy_) May 27, 2018
Critical reviews of Solo have been largely positive and while fans have been fairly approving of the movie, there are those who think the real reason Solo isn't killing it at the box office is that the movie is just bad. While there are many who appear to base this assessment off of Harrison Ford not being in the movie and others who acknowledge that the movie improves in the second and third acts, there are many who simply didn't like the movie for a variety of reasons, aren't recommending it to their friends, and aren't going back to see it a second time -- and both of those things can hurt box office numbers.
Solo underperforming at theaters? Blame it on The Last Jedi.
Perhaps the most popular theory as to why Solo isn't hauling in money is because The Last Jedi "ruined" the franchise for fans and now, those who feel this way are refusing to see Solo as a way to "punish" Disney. There have been actual calls for fans to straight-up boycott Solo because of their displeasure with The Last Jedi.
Look, if Solo is a box office failure, it can only mean one thing: people are demanding more female-led Star Wars movies like TFA, TLJ and Rogue One.
Right?— Dave “David” Schwarz (@JoinTheSchwarz) May 25, 2018
Other fans are blaming The Last Jedi for Solo's woes for a completely different reason. Instead of trying to punish Disney for "ruining" Star Wars, some fans think that people want more female-led Star Wars adventures like The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and The Force Awakens and simply aren't interested in another male-driven installment right now. While we're not sure that's the case, it's certainly refreshing take on the "Blame The Last Jedi" theme we've seen quite a bit of.
think the 'Solo' box office would have been stronger had it opened in December. Disney has shown Star Wars movies in December can make tons of $. While 'Star Wars' is popular, it's not Marvel, which could release a movie every 3 months and make crazy money. https://t.co/z9rRoodZSw— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) May 27, 2018
What did the previous three Star Wars movies have in common other than being box office successes? They were released in December and it's that one detail that some think is the reason that Solo isn't quite living up to expectations.
While some have noted that Memorial Day weekend -- a holiday weekend considered to be the start of summer in which many people go out of town or spend their time on other activities than going to the movies -- aren't always the strongest for theaters, the general consensus when it comes to blaming scheduling is that Star Wars movies just do better in December.
Deadpool 2 and Infinity War both being in theaters currently probably aren't helping, either.
Heard that “Solo” has had a disappointing opening weekend. Could it be because Star Wars fan are trying to #SaveLucifer?— Mariasm (@Mariasm73258213) May 27, 2018
One of the more unusual theories we've spotted places the blame for Solo's box office struggles on television, specifically the fan push to save a cancelled television show.
FOX recently cancelled Lucifer after three seasons. While the show's ratings were modest on the network, it has a large, devoted fanbase who are very invested in attempting to save the show. To that end fans have been campaigning on social media and through petitions to try to find Lucifer a home on another network or even on a streaming service such as Netflix of Hulu. Thus far, these attempts haven't been successful, but a few people on Twitter have suggested that maybe the campaign has had an impact on Solo.
Or, maybe, they're just using buzz about Solo to boost their campaign signal. Well played.
SOLO flopping (relatively speaking) at the Box Office just shows that Star Wars fatigue is real in the sense that we don't want these spinoffs to only be 2 hours of connecting the dots to give something from the original trilogy a backstory.— Raz P. Berry (@Soderberghian) May 27, 2018
Solo marks the fourth Star Wars movie to hit theaters since 2015's The Force Awakens and, for many, that might be part of the reason why it's not doing so well at the box office. Fans are citing something called "Star Wars fatigue" as the driving reason people just aren't showing up for the film. Specifically, people are arguing that fans simply don't want or need movies that only serve to expand on the back stories of characters from the original triolgy but do nothing to advance the current story of the Star Wars universe while others think that a yearly Star Wars movie might be too much of a good thing.
Solo “struggles” at the box office?
It brought in $83,000,000 in its first weekend.
This crusade against Solo is just so ridiculous. I don’t understand it.— Stephen Ford (@StephenSeanFord) May 27, 2018
Yes, Solo isn't bringing in the numbers it was projected to but does that really mean it's crashing, flopping, failing, or tanking at the box office?
In what just might be the hottest take of them all right now there are those who think that all of the discussion fo Solo's "failure" is silly and that declaring the film to be underperforming after just one weekend is premature. As it stands now, Solo has already brought in just over $148 million globally on a budget of $250 million. While the film will likely need to bring in around $500 million total worldwide to break even when one factors in additional costs associated with the movie, it's still premature call it a flop. One of the consistent things popping up on social media about Solo is that the film is far better than than fans thought it would be. That word of mouth can be a powerful thing for movies which means it's possible that we'll see more people head to theaters to give Solo a fair shake once the Memorial Day weekend is behind us.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
Why do you think the film is off to a slow start at the box office? Sound off with your opinions in comments.