In what should come as no surprise to anyone, Solo: A Star Wars Story sports one of the largest production budgets the franchise has ever seen. While most installments in the series were plagued by production issues in one way or another, Solo was an entirely different animal. Four months into filming, original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were fired due to creative differences with Lucasfilm and were quickly replaced by Oscar-winner Ron Howard. The unprecedented situation saw Solo undergo substantial reshoots as production (which was supposed to wrap in July 2017) didn't conclude until last October. When it was all said and done, Howard's work encompassed 70 - 80 percent of the final film.
When a Star Wars film is made without any hitches, they aren't exactly cheap to make, so one can only imagine how costly it was to get Solo across the finish line. While this clearly was not the original intent, the spinoff ended up with a price tag that rivals (and exceeds) the latest episodes of the Skywalker saga.
In a new report from Variety detailing the Solo behind-the-scenes drama, it's stated the production budget was more than $250 million. If that figure is correct, it would actually surpass the $245 million budget of The Force Awakens, making Solo the most expensive Star Wars film of all-time. Rogue One (which saw extensive reshoots itself) cost $200 million, while The Last Jedi was also in that neighborhood.
Solo's woes allegedly doubled the initial budget, meaning Lucasfilm had envisioned the spinoff costing about $125 million to make. That number sounds about right for a "smaller" Star Wars film operating as a slick caper, but things obviously didn't go according to plan. Fortunately for Lucasfilm, the money wasn't a real issue here. The Star Wars revival has gone about as well as one could hope, seeing that the first three movies of this era collectively grossed $4 billion at the worldwide box office (plus billions more in merchandise sales). This isn't to say what happened on Solo was ideal, but at least Kathleen Kennedy knew the studio had great resources to pull this off and made a (difficult) call in an effort to get the film back on track from a quality perspective.
Of course, Solo is now in a position where it needs to do extremely well at the box office in order to be a profitable endeavor, and it's dealing with holdovers like Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. If $250 million is the floor, that means it needs to gross at least $500 million worldwide to break even. Fortunately, Solo looks to be in sound shape commercially. Advanced ticket sales are currently outpacing Black Panther, and projections indicate it'll break the Memorial Day opening weekend record. Hopefully, fans agree with critics and enjoy Solo for the fun heist flick it is, and the film will have strong legs throughout its run.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019