A disappointing box office opening for Solo: A Star Wars Story combined with the abrupt cancellation of ABC's hit sitcom Roseanne to make for a rough for Disney.
The company, recently passed by Netflix as the world's most valuable entertainment company, took a 2.4% hit, bringing its year-to-date stock losses to nearly 7%.
Generally it is easy enough to downplay the performance of any given movie, but Disney had a lot riding on Solo, the latest installment in its Star Wars epic and one that seems to set up possible sequels and spinoffs within its story.
It is also worth noting that both Solo and Roseanne were part of the conversation during Disney's most recent earnings call with investors, indicators of a bullish end to 2018. Films like Black Panther, Solo, and Ant-Man and the Wasp were seen as potentially bigger profit centers that the more-expensive Avengers: Infinity War, even as Infinity War was obliterating box office records left and right.
Disney had expected $130 million from Solo's holiday-weekend launch at the domestic box office; the film actually earned less than $85 million in its first four days.
Roseanne was cancelled today after a racist tweet made by the show's star and executive producer, Roseanne Barr, got her in hot water on social media. Barr responded to the controversy with disbelief, frustration, occasional mockery, and finally a threat to leave Twitter.
Barr eventually apologized for what she said was a joke made in poor taste, but ABC President Channing Dungey issued a statement saying that “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
While Roseanne was a big hit, it seems likely that the longer-term concern for the company is Solo. While the film comes six months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a film that did gangbuster numbers in spite of a divided fan base, there will be more than a year before Star Wars Episode IX is released. Unlike the studio's Marvel films, which come at twice or more per year and can weather a disappointing performance by any single film, Solo's legacy will linger for 18 months before Lucasfilm's next project.3comments
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. If, indeed, part of the film's underwhelming opening has been Star Wars Episode IX will be in theaters on December 20, 2019.
h/t The Wrap