No doubt right now at this very moment there’s panic at Lucasfilm. What went wrong? Solo, as I stated last week is well on its way to becoming the first Star Wars film to lose money in its entire over 40 year history. But even worse at this stage it’s not only going to be one of the most expensive flops of the summer, but one of the biggest ones for the year as well.
Though it was No. 1 last weekend, it underperformed with an $83 million opening. As I said last week, normally that would be spectacular opening for a film, but for a Star Wars film, that’s disastrous. This week, it was No. 1 again, mainly because there was no real competition, but it dropped a whopping 65 percent for $29.3 million and a domestic total of $148.8 as of today. But overseas, the film is dying on the vine with a worldwide total to date of $264.2 million. If things had gone as expected, the film should have grossed twice the amount worldwide by Sunday. To put it into perspective, A Quiet Place, the little $17 million budgeted 90 minute sci-fi/horror movie, has grossed $316.6 million worldwide to date.
Box office analyst Erik Childress made the point this weekend that Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time could also be considered one of biggest box office bombs of the year. That’s very true, but the thing is that Wrinkle was always considered a risky bet in the first place. Solo was supposed to be a sure thing. No one expected it to perform as poorly like it did. The belief was the Star Wars fans could go see anything with Star Wars on it. Well, that turns out not to be true.
Hardcore Star Wars fans hated the The Last Jedi because, from what I’ve been told, it ignored or upended fan theories that they had convinced themselves were true, Luke Skywalker rejected the The Force (whatever that means) and there were too many women and black people in it. And for this, they hated the idea of a Solo movie in the first place. And then there was woeful miscasting of Han Solo, the extensively reported production problems didn’t inspire confidence in the film. And on top of that many of those who saw the film hate it, calling the movie “boring.”
Also, you probably can add to that the belief by some that corporate greed killed the film. Was Disney was so eager and greedy to make as much money as they could that they made too many Star Wars films? These films used to be a special event coming out every few years or sometimes even 16 years apart! But now, there have been four Star Wars films in the last four years. That “special event” feeling is gone. Disney is clearly going to have to reevaluate their whole Star Wars strategy. The next “official” Star Wars film, directed by JJ Abrams, is due Christmas on 2019 and there’s a Boba Fett spin off in the works to be directed by James Manigold. But not surprisingly, there are questions from fans if one is really necessary. Which reminds me…just who is Boda Fett anyway?
In the meantime Deadpool 2 seems to be doing the business that Solo should be doing, coming in second place for the second week in a row with $23.3 million. The film has grossed $254.6 million overall and another $291.6 million internationally.
As for new releases this weekend, the pickings were very slim but the modestly budgeted couple-stranded-in-the-ocean-after-a-hurricane survival film Adrift, came in third with $11 million. Blumhouse’s specialty distribution label Tilt, for their films too extreme for a major studio film release, did not fare so well with their ultra-violent high tech horror film Upgrade which grossed just under $5 million. However, Paramount’s Johnny Knoxville slapstick comedy Action Point just totally died this weekend under $3 million at the box office.
However, both Universal and Paramount have both seen success with their counter programming strategy with with a pair of modestly budgeted movies aimed at undeserved audiences. For Paramount, it’s older white women with their film The Book Club, which has made $47.3 million and with Universal, it’s manly older, black women with Breaking In which has grossed $41.3 million so far.
1) Solo: A Star Wars Story BV $29,296,000 Total: $148,888,692
2) Deadpool 2 Fox $23,325,000 Total: $254,652,438
3) Adrift STX $11,510,000
4) Avengers: Infinity War BV $10,371,000 Total: $642,869,932
5) Book Club Par. $6,800,000 Total:$47,316,748
6) Upgrade BH Tilt $4,458,000
7) Life of the Party WB (NL) $3,455,000 Total: $46,300,630
8) Breaking In Uni. $2,815,000 Total: $41,346,015
9) Action Point Par. $2,315,000
10) Overboard PNT $1,975,000 Total: $45,523,194
11) A Quiet Place Par. $1,780,000 Total: $183,529,198
12) Show Dogs Global Road $1,550,794 Total: $14,626,275