Why has Solo placed so low? Star Wars: The Phantom Box Office Flop

Well, you may or may not have seen Solo: A Star Wars story – and I say that because it’s actually done pretty poorly at the box office. When it was announced that Star Wars was making a return to the big screen, everyone was insanely hyped. But, it quickly became, dare I say, tedious? With two films a year coming out – one main story, and one satellite, it almost feels a little… Cluttered. Whether it’s the lack of breathing room between them, or just the incoherency in the stories that comes with movies of this magnitude that’re produced and made in a year or so, who can say.

But, what I do know, is that Solo: A Star Wars story, has done poorly in the box office, and has even been tagged with that dreaded industry word ‘flop’.

The Movie

So, was the movie bad? Uh, no. Trust, me, it’s not. It’s actually pretty good. I mean, it’s not Rogue One good. And, it’s better than the most recent Rey and Luke outing. But, it just lacks anything really mind blowing. The cinematography was great, the characters well drawn, the dialogue punchy, and the story pretty evenly paced and exciting. But, it just didn’t have me holding on to my seat in the way that I felt like it should have. Han Solo is a smuggler – a criminal, a rogue, a rapscallion of the stars. He’s a gun-toting, smooth talking, law breaker, and yet he had a soft and likeable charm. Whether it’s just the difficulty that comes with stepping into Harrison Ford’s shoes, who can say. It wasn’t even that Alden Ehrenreich was a bad Solo, because he wasn’t. Like I said, the whole film was just a little fine. It did nothing to break the mould, and had none of the impetus that Rogue One carried. I’m not knocking it, and I think had it been given another six months of breathing time from The Last Jedi, Infinity War, and Deadpool 2, then it would have done a lot better. But, right now, everyone’s just a little cinema’d out. In regards to the quality of the movie, it’s on par with everything else in the canon, and the movie itself is certainly worth watching – you won’t be disappointed. And, probably, re-watching it a year’s time, I’ll find myself thinking ‘I don’t remember this film being so good’ – and I’m looking forward to that.

The Facts

Reviews and critique aside, how did the film do? Well, here are the box office totals for the recent Star Wars movies (as it’s not fair to judge the 70/80s movies due to inflation, etc) opening weekend takings from best to worst so you get a sense of how poorly this movie did.

  1. Force Awakens: $247m
  2. Last Jedi: $220m
  3. Rogue One: $155
  4. Revenge of the Sith: $108
  5. Solo: $84m
  6. Attack of the Clones: $80m
  7. Phantom Menace: $64m

But, when you consider Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones came out some 20 years ago now (well, nearly), and how horrible it was (for the most part), and the lack of Star Wars hype surrounding it, Solo’s done very poorly. Lucasfilm and Disney were hoping to at least match Rogue One with the opening weekend, as arguably, a Han Solo movie should have absolutely killed it at the box office. The cast was excellent, the budget huge, and it’s more Han and Chewie action than you can shake a stick at. So, what’s the reason then?

 

Disney Got Greedy

Disney got greedy, and complacent. That’s all there is to it. With two Star Wars outings a year, there’s no time to build hype. There’s no time to miss the series between showings. And, with the recent controversy over the direction and storylines of the latest movies – what they did to Luke was inexcusable, and when the star of the entire franchise and universe, one Mark Hamill, is prepared to voice his opinion saying so – well, you know you’ve screwed up.

The Solution?

Let things sit. Give it a year and people will be clamouring for more action happening in a galaxy far, far away. But, for right now, this poor performance is down solely to Disney’s pathological need to monetize a franchise that’s never had trouble making money. I love Star Wars, and I hope they take more time over them in the future so as to avoid more debacles. Did you know that there’s an online petition to strike the Last Jedi from the canon altogether? That’s how annoyed people were, and rightly so, too. We, the fans, are the only ones who can hold Disney accountable, and with Solo’s performance at the box office, I think they’ve got the message.

 

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