Things go from bad to worse for Solo: A Star Wars Story at the box office, as the latest projections suggest it will struggle to hit $200 million domestically for its entire theatrical run. The spinoff's commercial performance has been one of the bigger surprises this year, as it was once pegged to shatter Memorial Day records when it opened. However, Solo severely underperformed, landing with a limp $103 million for its 4-day opening, and has seen its business steadily decline ever since.
Even after an underwhelming debut, some hoped Solo would be able to turn things around somewhat by taking advantage of weekends with limited competition. That didn't transpire; after falling like a rock in its second weekend, Solo recently yielded the top of the charts to Ocean's 8. Now, with more high-profile franchise installments on the horizon, it's becoming clearer just how bad of shape Solo is in.
In their write-up of Solo's turnout this past weekend, Forbes indicated the prequel is going to have an uphill battle to $200 million in the U.S. Even if it crosses that mark, it likely will not top The Empire Strikes Back's unadjusted domestic total of $209.3 million, which would be a truly startling development. At this point, the $252.5 million haul of Return of the Jedi is well out of the question. It remains to be seen how much money Solo loses for Disney, but there's no denying this is an ugly picture.
As of this writing, Solo has earned $176.1 million domestically, meaning it's about $24 million away from hitting the $200 million mark. At first glance, it sounds like a foregone conclusion it'll get to that point, but there are a number of factors to keep in mind. For starters, interest in Solo is quite low, as evidenced by the film's $15.1 million intake this past weekend. Those numbers are almost definitely going down now with the impending arrival of Incredibles 2, which is expected to post the largest opening in Pixar's storied history. We're also only two weeks away from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and that sequel is also poised to be a massive hit. Solo is going to take a decline with multiplexes getting even more crowded in June.
While it's alarming to see a Star Wars movie do this poorly at the box office, this hopefully will be a one-time scenario for Lucasfilm. Next year's Episode IX sees the franchise return to the lucrative Christmas window, where the likes of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi have dominated the past few years. They also have plenty of time before Rian Johnson's trilogy and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' series to rethink release and marketing strategies to better position their films in a place to succeed. No property is immune to a flop or two, and Star Wars can definitely rebound from this.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019