Advanced ticket sales for Solo: A Star Wars Story are among the highest of 2018 so far, outpacing the mighty juggernaut Black Panther. There was a point in time when many were convinced the spinoff would be Lucasfilm's first proper bomb (or, at the very least, disappointment) in their Disney era. On top of perceived apathy about the premise of a young Han Solo origin story, the infamous production difficulties raised several red flags about its potential quality. But it's best to not tell Han the odds. Solo is shaping up to be one of the summer's biggest hits.
Thanks in part to a steadily improving marketing campaign that's alleviating fears viewers had about the prequel, Solo is tracking to soar past the all-time Memorial Day weekend record when it opens later this month. As Lucasfilm comes down the home stretch of promotion, they made a big splash recently when Solo tickets went on sale. As it turns out, quite a few people are interested in seeing the movie on the big screen.
Fandango announced the first 24 hours of pre-orders for Solo on their site was one of the highest of the year so far - second only to Avengers: Infinity War. This means it's currently out-performing the record-shattering Black Panther, which at the time was the MCU's highest advanced seller. In a Fandango survey that polled 1,000 moviegoers, 85 percent named Han as one of their favorite Star Wars characters and 76 percent are excited to see Alden Ehrenreich's take on the role. Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian is also fueling the ticket sales, with 73 percent of the survey takers expressing enthusiasm for him.
It'll be interesting to see what impact this has on Solo's opening estimates as the release date draws closer. It's worth pointing out the film is still a little over a week away from its premiere at Cannes, meaning word-of-mouth hasn't started to spread yet. If Ron Howard was able to truly steer the ship back on course and deliver a thrilling and heartfelt Star Wars installment, then Solo could go even higher than what some analysts are saying. Right now, it's pegged to earn in excess of $170 million in its first four days, rivaling the start posted by Rogue One. The first Star Wars anthology, released in December 2016, ended up with $532.1 million domestically. Solo may not get there due to stiff competition in June, but that sounds like an attainable ceiling for now.
All of this has to come as a tremendous relief for Lucasfilm, who took a major risk by pulling the plug on Phil Lord & Chris Miller four months into filming. As evidenced by Justice League, massive upheavals late in the game can lead to unmitigated disasters, but it looks like Solo is going to turn out just fine. This is nothing new for the Star Wars franchise, as several of the films were plagued by difficulties during development. It'll be nice for everyone to sit back and reflect on the concerns with bemusement, instead of wonder what could have been.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019