A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY: Is Star Wars Fatigue Setting in After Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story Flop?
Let's face it. Solo: A Star Wars Story hasn’t worked out as Disney and Lucasfilm had planned. After the first week’s poor performance, many U.S. based observers had hoped that Memorial Weekend could have been to blame, and that the film would make a recovery the following week. However, after two full weeks in cinemas, its box office reception hadn’t improved. In fact, taking its earnings into account, it may just be the first Star Wars film to be considered a commercial flop.
Arguably, the movie was more expensive than was necessary, which increased the amount that it needed to break even. With the original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord having been fired, causing numerous scenes to be reshot, the film’s budget rose to insanely high levels. Disney may be wondering whether the original versions would have made the same profit, or even more.
Second week drop off
In its second week in U.S. cinemas, Solo made just $29.9m- a 65 percent drop off from the previous week, which was also a very low take for a movie with such a high production budget. This could be partly due to its troublesome production history. However, it could also be that Solo is the first movie in the franchise that fans don’t regard as being essential - after all, it’s the backstory of a character who has no connection with the force, perhaps making him less intriguing than the likes of Luke Skywalker.
For years, Star Wars had a mystique about it. After 1983’s Return of the Jedi and before The Phantom Menace (1999), fans had been starved for more Star Wars on the big screen. Not that Lucasfilm hadn’t taken advantage of its devoted following thorough continuous releases of merchandise such as posters, books, and games. Sci-fi fans have always remained loyal, and that loyalty isn’t limited to Star Wars. It’s also been the case with other franchises, such as Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar enjoyed a hugely popular reboot in the noughties, and has also spawned endless merchandise, including games such as 2009’s Deadlock and Battlestar Galactica slot. The latter, available through Bonus.ca, provides 120 free spins for BG fans. All games available from this site accept echeck, and there could well be more people signing a few of those this week than this watching Solo.
What went wrong?
Lord and Miller were fired months into production, due to creative differences with Lucasfilm. President Kathleen Kennedy had a very different vision in mind for how she felt the film should look. It may be that a more daring approach would have at least attracted a bigger audience through word of mouth. Ron Howard’s film is a safe and respectable effort, but after seeing such game changing and polarising revelations from The Last Jedi, fans may be done with playing safe. There’s also a belief that moviegoers are coming down with Star Wars fatigue, with just five months since Episode 8. On the other hand, Marvel has released Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther and Infinity War within seven months, all of which have enjoyed huge box office takings - so maybe fatigue can't be blamed after all. In any case, it would appear that Disney may have to pause before they rush the next instalment of the Star Wars franchise.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY IS IN CINEMAS AND IMAX NOW