Long-range tracking for Solo: A Star Wars Story's opening weekend indicates a debut in the neighborhood of Rogue One's $155 million. Lucasfilm's second Star Wars anthology has been the subject of much conversation for the better part of a year - mostly for all the wrong reasons. As many know by now, Solo underwent an unprecedented director switch with Ron Howard replacing the fired Phil Lord & Chris Miller last June (four months into filming). The Oscar winner wasn't just brought onboard to round out the last three weeks of principal photography; Howard reportedly reshot nearly all of the movie, which doubled the budget.
A combination of these production woes and mixed fan response to the premise (a young Han Solo prequel) has cast a dark cloud over the film. However, things seem to be looking up more recently. Last month's teaser trailer was generally well-received, setting the stage for a fun space adventure and spotlighting Alden Ehrenreich's turn as the iconic smuggler. Nobody is expecting Solo to rewrite the record books during its run, but early signs point to a very lucrative stay in theaters.
According to Box Office Pro, estimates peg Solo for $150 million over its first three days, which is slightly below what Rogue One pulled in back in December 2016. The outlet predicts the spinoff will end with a U.S. total of $390 million, though they say it could get as high as $475 million depending on how things turn out. Unlike the other Star Wars films of Lucasfilm's Disney era, Solo faces stiff competition from the likes of Deadpool 2 and The Incredibles 2, which could undercut its legs a bit.
Even if Solo reaches the high end of those projections, it'll be the lowest-grossing modern Star Wars movie to date by a wide margin. However, it's important to keep it all in perspective. $400 million is a very impressive haul (a mark only four films reached last year), and coupled with whatever Solo makes internationally should turn a tidy profit for Lucasfilm. It's easy to hold Solo up against its predecessors as a means of judging its success, but the only number that truly matters is its production budget. As long as it clears that, Solo will be in great shape. Right now, there's little reason to doubt its prospects. Not only is Star Wars as popular as its ever been, Solo gets to double down on classic iconography (Han & Chewie, the Millennium Falcon) in its marketing campaign.
Of course, these numbers can (and will) fluctuate when Solo gets closer to release. Lucasfilm has yet to truly rev up advertising, and there should be a major push throughout April that ideally will get viewers more excited. There's also the matter of word-of-mouth, which could be a fascinating development after the divisiveness of The Last Jedi. Critics seem to like what Lucasfilm has done with their prized possession over the past few years, so hopefully everyone will be on board with Solo and it'll be another winner for the studio. It would be nice if viewers could reflect on the unusual production with a laugh, as opposed to wondering what could have been.
Source: Box Office Pro
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019