Editors' Choice

“Solo” Tops Memorial Day Weekend, but Comes in Below Projections

Steve Porter / May 28, 2018

Looks like the Millennium Falcon has stalled out. Solo: A Star Wars Story is on track to earn $101 million at the U.S. and Canadian box office over the weekend. That’s more than enough to top the Memorial Day long weekend take in the U.S., but falls short of Disney’s projections of $130-$150 million. Unfortunately, that means that analysts are giving the film a drubbing despite generally positive reviews and a comfortable box office haul.

This seems like more of a case of inflated expectations than any particular failing on the part of the film in question. Disney raised the bar after expensive reshoots and the film cost upwards of $250 million after original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were replaced by Ron Howard midway through production. Worse, Solo has underperformed compared to Disney’s other Star Wars blockbusters: Rogue One, the first anthology film, earned $155.1 million during its opening weekend in 2016.

Audiences might also be suffering from “franchise fatigue.” This is the fourth Star Wars movie in less than three years. Unlike Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe – which seems immune to franchise fatigue – Star Wars doesn’t have a large roster of characters that have been introduced over decades, first in the comics and then on the big screen, and ten years of audience goodwill in the bank. Star Wars might be moving too hard, too fast. That said, Disney has Episode IX on the calendar for December 2019 and are still considering anthology films featuring Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

It’s too soon to tell if Solo will refuel and find its legs; after all, analysts pay an inordinate amount of attention to the opening weekend. Audiences seemed pleased: as of Sunday, Solo has an A- on CinemaScore and 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Solo is playing in theaters.