The latest Star Wars film is pulling in disappointing box office numbers, dropping way below Disney's projected earnings for the film's opening weekend.
The new film, called Solo: A Star Wars Story, follows a younger version of Han Solo played by Alden Ehrenreich. It was directed by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard.
Analysts predicted the film would earn between $130 million and $150 million within its debut weekend in North America — it has only managed to pull in $103 million. Those numbers don't seem that bad, but even a $30 million deficit has prompted Disney and Lucasfilm to rethink its strategy for the Star Wars prequel franchise, which began with 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
It's A Timing Problem
Dave Hollis, distribution chief at Disney, has questioned whether releasing the film while Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War are still playing in theaters was a wise decision, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"There's a question of frequency, and how many times people will go to the movies. Is this too much and too soon for a third time in a five-week period."
The 'Star Wars' Franchise
At its current rate, Solo: A Star Wars Story may not gross much more than $400 million domestically, marking a rare loss for Disney, the report notes. Most analysts think the main problem with the film is that it debuted just five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, resulting in a case of audience fatigue with the Star Wars universe. There's also the fact that it's a prequel story that's part of a spinoff series, not the mainline Star Wars franchise.
For what it's worth, Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo in the main films, has apparently seen the film twice and said he "adores" it, as MovieWeb reports. Director Howard also claims Ford raved about it after seeing the finished version. But it appears a seal of approval from Han Solo himself wasn't enough to secure Solo: A Star Wars Story's box office standing.
At Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a 70 percent rating, with the critics' consensus saying:
"A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door."
Even with underwhelming numbers, the studio isn't abandoning its plan to release one Star Wars film each year. But this time, it's not going to release them too close together, whether they're anthology films or part of the official episodes.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is out now. Have you seen the film? What are your thoughts on it? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!