Why Has Solo: A Star Wars Story Stumbled At The Box Office?
The only vehicle Han Solo can't seem to land is his own spin-off.
In 2015, Disney took over the reins with of the Star Wars universe with The Force Awakens. Since then, they've released The Last Jedi and the first of the "spin-offs" with Rogue One.
Now the latest addition to the spin-off sagas, Solo: A Star Wars Story, has become the studio's first falter.
Raking in just under USD $85 million in its domestic opening weekend, the film wasn't that much more successful at the global box office. You might think that sounds like a lot of money, but held up to past performances of other Star Wars flicks, as well as comparable films released just weeks before, it isn't looking great.
The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo and along with fellow cast members Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Donald Glover, attempts to colour the backstory of one of the universe's most infamous pilots.
For some reason the film just doesn't seem to be landing, here are a few explanations as to why that may be.
Solo wasn't the smoothest production, in fact, just weeks before it wrapped the original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were fired.
There were rumours that the pair clashed with the studio from the outset, with both men preferring a more improvised style, so the studio brought in reliable Ron Howard to finish things they way they had always intended.
Howard apparently had to re-shoot a bulk of the film, in fact it's believed almost the entire film was re-shot to remove any real remains of Lord and Miller's version, which mean's the film's budget was almost doubled.
Timing is also a massive factor when it comes to the release, with Disney bucking its trend of releasing one Star Wars film a year (usually around Christmas). Barely five months after The Last Jedi had finished up in cinemas Solo was hitting the publicity trail.
When Force Awakens opened it was a huge event. The main title theme hadn't blasted audiences for about a decade. It felt like a historic return for the franchise. To put it simply - it felt special. Now it's just a matter of months between space adventures.
That sheen of Star Wars films feeling historic and special has worn off.
Star Wars fatigue isn't the only timing issue when you look at the slate of recent releases with Avengers: Infinity War looking to hit the $2 billion marker after being in cinemas for weeks, and the more recently released Deadpool 2 also performing well.
Solo attempted to attract a similar audience out to the cinemas for a third time in a short period, but they just weren't able to engage on the same level as the competition.
Disney's distribution chief, Dave Hollis, even conceded that the release strategy may not have been the best.
"There's a question of frequency, and how many times people will go to the movies," Hollis told The Hollywood Reporter. "Is this too much and too soon for a third time in a five-week period?"
Finally there's the problem with reviews. While reviews of films aren't make or break, it does feel like the overall middling response critics had to Solo couldn't have helped its case.
Solo's Rotten Tomatoes score sits at a decent 70 percent, and its MetaCritic score currently sits at 62. The mostly positive reactions to the film seemed to collectively shrug at the film agreeing that it's absolutely fine.
The film is now suffering a Streisand effect-esque situation where, in trying to pivot the conversation away from the film's box office, the current coverage is almost entirely around its performance.
As the conversation continued to dominate the discourse around Solo, the film's director responded to a random tweet (not a great look).
While the film may have missed projections, the box office is still a first for Howard, and he was happy to celebrate that personal milestone, urging his followers to check the movie out for themselves.
So, if you're still on the fence about seeing Solo, don't take our word for it...
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now.
Featured image: Walt Disney Studios / Lucasfilm.