Solo: A Star Wars Story lands a Chinese release date, while Lucasfilm continues marketing their upcoming blockbuster in foreign territories. During the Golden Age of superhero cinema, the galaxy far, far away seems to be the only property that can beat comic book adaptations at the box office. Since the franchise made its triumphant return in 2015 with The Force Awakens, a Star Wars movie has been the highest-grossing film domestically. This three-year mini dynasty also includes Rogue One and The Last Jedi.
The three modern Star Wars movies released to date have also been moneymakers overseas, with each pulling over $1 billion globally. However, even the mighty Lucasfilm has some weak spots. Star Wars is simply not a draw in China. Rogue One made just $69.4 million in the Middle Kingdom, and Last Jedi fared even worse. Last year's installment was pulled from all Chinese theaters after only a two-week run that saw $42.5 million earned. The studio is hoping the fourth time will be the charm when Solo makes its way to China.
According to THR, Solo will debut in China on May 25, the same day it's scheduled for release in the United States. It will be interesting to see how the spinoff performs. Lucasfilm has taken active measures in an attempt to make Solo more appealing for audiences in the country, calling the movie Ranger Solo in China. Perhaps removing Star Wars from the title will have a positive effect. Fortunately for Lucasfilm, China is not going to make or break Solo, as it's projected to earn $150 million in its U.S. opening weekend. Those estimates may increase when the film gets closer.
Elsewhere, U.K. viewers were treated to a new poster today, which you can see in the space above. While it primarily focuses on the group of criminals on Han's team, this one-sheet is noteworthy for featuring Solo's villains: the mysterious Enfys Nest and kingpin Dryden Vos. Both characters have been downplayed somewhat in marketing, as they've only been glimpsed in trailers and still images (with no dialogue heard so far). Smartly, Lucasfilm is hyping fans for Solo by displaying the Han & Chewbacca dynamic and Donald Glover's smooth Lando Calrissian - a strategy that seems to be paying off. Just teasing Enfys and Dryden piques people's interest and raises questions about how they fit into the narrative, and those queries won't be answered until the film comes out in theaters. Holding them back is a smart play, especially since there are plenty of recognizable franchise elements to draw casual moviegoers in.
It wasn't too long ago there was concern about the lack of Solo advertising, as Lucasfilm kept the lid closed until after The Last Jedi had its run. Now, however, the floodgates are open, and it's safe to say most people like what they see. Solo is being sold as a throwback adventure movie, underscored by an entertaining tone and fun character interactions. Some fans remain skeptical, but Solo looks promising and should be able to be another winner for Lucasfilm. After all the concerns about its storyline and production woes, it'd be nice to laugh about the fears and enjoy the ride.
Sources: THR, Disney
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019