In 2015, after decades of “Star Wars” films appearing in theatres in May, Disney decided to release the first instalment in the Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in December. Ending a 38 year tradition for a new one. The following two year, both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi were also released in December, each becoming ‘winter blockbusters’. All except one, Solo A Star Wars Story.
Solo A Star Wars Story unlike it’s predecessors didn’t do well at the Box Office, earning only $392,924,807 at the Worldwide Box Office on a budget of $275 million.
There has been many contributing factors as to why Solo: A Star Wars Story didn’t do well at the Box Office, from the problems behind the scenes to the poor marketing leading up to it’s release. Having just over three months of marketing instead of eight months compared to Rogue One and Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, with the latter movie only leaving theatres a couple months prior.
Bob Iger in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter personally took the blame for the timing decision of Solo: Star Wars Story. That it was a little too much, too fast.
“I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films.”
– Bob Iger
It also wasn’t exactly a movie fans and most audiences were wanting either. You also have to take into count that there were some fans that were unhappy with Episode VII: The Last Jedi, where some fans wanting to boycott the film, voting with their wallets and some even going as far to bring down it’s IMDb & Rotten Tomato ratings before it’s release.
Now, lets wind the clocks back two years. In 2017, Disney released “Coco” (October 27th), “Thor: Ragnarok”(October 10th) and “The Last Jedi” (December 14th) during the first quarter. Together these three films made over $1 billion combined at the Domestic Box Office in the U.S., according to data from Comscore.
Jump a year forward to 2018, and Disney releases “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (November 2nd) “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (November 21st) and “Mary Poppins Returns” (December 19th). Together these films cominded only make $388 million domestically.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi brought in more than $500 million at the U.S. Domestic Box Office between the dates of December. 15th and December. 31st and continued to make money well into the second quarter.
“The theatrical success of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ in Q1 last year was a key driver to licensing results so the absence of a comparable franchise title in Q1 this year created a meaningful headwind to our licensing results, Home Entertainment results also faced a difficult comparison given Q2 titles last year included ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Coco’. As a result we expect operating income from our theatrical and home entertainment businesses to be $450 million to $500 million lower than in Q2 last year, which was the best second quarter in the studio’s history.”
– Christine McCarthy, Disney’s Chief Financial Officer
Despite competition, Disney did not change Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s May 10th release date. “Solo” was sandwiched between two Disney Summer Blockbusters: Avengers: Infinity War and The Incredibles 2. And that was before hitingt theatres a week before fox’s Deadpool 2.
“There was too much crossing of the streams, to quote another franchise, when it comes to the creative side, it’s always hard to speak in definitives.”
– Shawn Robbins, Senior Analyst at BoxOffice
Robbins also noted that Solo: A Star Wars Story may have benefited from having its release date pushed back and allowing Lucasfilm to spend more time reworking the story, reshoots and give the film better marketing. Of course though, there isn’t really any guarantee that film would have been a better box office success if released in December, instead of May. As Solo: A Star Wars Story would have been up against Warner Bros.’ surprise smash hit Aquaman, which pulled in $324 million in the U.S. and has gone on to make more than $1 billion at the Worldwide Box Office.
“You can second guess it, but, perhaps it was better to get the movie out there and just weather the storm of reviews…. Disney is so big and so successful that they can weather this and move on.”
– Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Analyst at Comscore
Still Solo: A Star Wars Story did do well on Blu-ray, selling 789,549 Blu-ray discs sold, $18,396,492 in revenue according to The Numbers. That’s not counting domestic and international DVD, Digital, and VOD sales, the movie’s international Blu-ray sales.
Solo: A Star Wars Story may have done better if released later in the year, but no one will ever know. It’ll always be that “What If” question. But what’s done is done. While the film didn’t do well during it’s theatrical run, Star Wars fans were given a fun and enjoyable Star Wars film none the less.
Written by: Connor Heggie