6 Reasons Why 'Solo' Failed at the Box Office
For most films on opening weekend, a $103 million take at the box office is cause for celebration; however, for a Star Wars movie...it is cause for serious concern. $29 million on its second weekend confirmed what was on everyone’s mind; that the story of Han Solo smuggler-turned-rebel, the most expensive movie in the Star Wars franchise, with a production budget of $250 million – is a box office disappointment.
The question on everyone’s mind is...what happened with Solo? Dave Hollis, Disney’s chief of distribution, stated that they were all over the problem and that they would spend a lot of time analyzing and understanding what happened to see where they could make adjustments and improvements. And they better figure it out since Disney already announced the release of two other spin-off movies about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett.
With such a start, it is predicted that “Solo” will struggle to make any kind of sizable profit and may even fail to reach the $700 million mark achieved by solo superhero Marvel film productions like “Doctor Strange”. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons why “Solo” was such box office disappointment.
Solo’s struggle began when Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired from the set months after the movie’s production began. Various sources cited that they were fired because the improvisational style favored by the duo clashed with that of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who preferred the long-time “Star Wars” stick-to-the-script philosophy.
To avoid further creative and directing conflicts, the studio replaced the filmmakers with Ron Howard, who was viewed as a safe choice by some fans. Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relation analyst, said that prior to the film’s release, a lot of fans knew that “Solo” had issues from the get-go and this put a damper on the expectations of long-time Star Wars fans. Many began to ask whether the film would be worth watching. With all the chaos happening behind the scenes, ‘pretty good’ probably just wasn’t going to cut it.
Even hardcore critics admit that Jon and Lawrence Kasdan wrote a fun and action- packed heist, Western-style space movie that wears its heart on its sleeve, but the moody cinematography by Bradford Young ruined it. Most theatres had to recalibrate their projectors just to properly screen the film. The movie was intended to be snappy and upbeat, but the dark sets and washed-out colors made it feel as ominous as “Empire Strikes Back”.
Way Too Much Competition
Although it is believed that a long holiday weekend helps box office sales, Memorial Day Weekend has always been an exception. The weekend kicks off the unofficial start of summer, allowing people to enjoy road trips and cookouts after the recession of spring’s temperamental weather. It is also believed that the simultaneous opening of two popular franchises, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Deadpool 2” was the biggest problem that “Solo” faced on opening weekend. Industry critics also note that the low numbers could be a result of increasing audience fatigue with the sci-fi/fantasy genre.
Lacked the “Feel” of a Star Wars Movie
Although “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a good movie, it is not an epic production like other Star Wars franchise films. Most of the scenes were shot around a campfire, a small seaside village, in dark rooms, and in alleys. It is a far cry from the characteristic dogfights between X-wings and TIE fighters, lavish republic cities and Death Stars. Unlike previous films like “Rogue One” where the fate of the galaxy hung in the balance, the stakes just weren’t high enough in “Solo”.
Alden Ehrenreich Was Wrong for the Part of Han Solo
Traditionally, it has always been difficult for a new actor to step into an iconic role. For Alden Ehrenreich who played the role of young Han, capturing the character of the lovable scoundrel (played by Harrison Ford) was particularly difficult...so much so that it prompted the hiring of an on-set acting coach very early in the movie’s production. Though he had his moments, he couldn’t quite capture Han Solo’s signature knowing smirk. However, this problem wasn’t entirely of his own making: he just isn’t cut out to fill Harrison Ford’s big shoes as the legendary smuggler.
Lack of Diversity
The diverse casts and female leads featured in “The Last Jedi”, “Rogue One”, and “The Force Awakens” was part of what made these films so exciting. In addition to several other films including “Wonder Woman” and “Hidden Figures”, these three productions were incredibly successful because they gave women and audiences of color something to look forward to. This diversity was notoriously absent in “Solo”.
Though “Solo” was still an enjoyable movie for many viewers, it certainly didn’t live up to its potential. While it may never be known exactly why it failed, the above reasons could tell at least part of the story.