Like the Millennium Falcon in a space storm, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is taking a beating at the box office. Projections for the Memorial Day box office weekend have fallen from $130 million pre-weekend to close to dropping under $100 million on Sunday.
Saturday returns for the “Star Wars” anthology film registered at just $24.6 million, amounting to a 31 percent drop from Friday’s $35.8 million returns. The families that were expected to make this film challenge for the Memorial Day opening weekend record just aren’t showing up — family audiences are reporting at 18 percent of the total audience — and now “Solo” might not even finish with one of the top 5 highest openings for this holiday weekend.
As it stands, a $100 million four-day opening would be less than the launch for “The Hangover Part II,” which made $103 million in 2011. “Solo” is also not only looking like it will have the lowest opening for a Disney “Star Wars” film, but will also fall lower than the prequels. Three-day opening estimates are currently sitting at $82 million, well below the $108.4 million “Revenge of the Sith” made in its first weekend. If it continues to underperform on Sunday, “Solo” could see it’s three-day fall below the $80 million made by “Attack of the Clones” in 2002.
The “Solo” three-day is also falling below another film that underperformed relative to its franchise pedigree: “Justice League.” That DC crossover film opened to $93.8 million, a good result for other films but well below what a film featuring Batman, Superman, and a Wonder Woman fresh off her own hit movie was expected to perform. After a normal Monday, the four-day total for “Justice League” sat at $101.3 million, and “Solo” might need the extra Memorial Day business just to match that amount.
Even before this weekend, it was considered a tall order for “Solo” to hit $1 billion worldwide the way the last three “Star Wars” films have done in the holiday season. There’s simply too much competition at this point in the summer for it to reach that figure. Analysts who spoke to TheWrap this past week said they expected “Solo” to finish its run with around $700-800 million worldwide, a reasonable total for a stand-alone anthology film and similar to some solo Marvel films like “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
But with this start and anticipated films like “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and Disney’s own “Incredibles 2” coming in June, “Solo” might not even have the legs to reach that range, and may end up falling below the $657.9 million that “Justice League” made globally. That’s not necessarily a sign that “Star Wars” is in a long-term decline, but it’s a particularly bad performance for “Solo” considering that the film cost over $250 million before marketing due to extensive reshoots following Ron Howard’s much-publicized replacement director hire.
And unlike Marvel films, the overseas footprint just isn’t there. China, which has never shown interest in “Star Wars,” went to go see “Avengers” again this weekend as receipts for “Solo” in the Middle Kingdom only amounted to $10.1 million. The top market was the U.K., and that wasn’t much better with a $10.3 million opening. In total, “Solo” grossed an estimated $65 million internationally, which means by Sunday’s end it is estimated to have a global weekend total of just $143 million, less than half of the global opening for the last “Star Wars” anthology film, “Rogue One,” which opened to $290 million.
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