Like the Millennium Falcon in a space storm, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is taking a beating at the box office. Projections for the Memorial Day box office weekend have fallen from $130 million pre-weekend to under $100 million on Sunday.
Saturday returns for the “Star Wars” anthology film registered at just $24.6 million, a 31 percent drop from Friday’s $35.8 million returns. The families that were expected to turn out for the film’s Memorial Day weekend opening aren’t showing up as much as expected, and now “Solo” might not even finish in the top 5 highest openings for this holiday weekend.
As it stands, a $100 million four-day opening would be less than the launch for “The Hangover Part II,” which made $103 million in 2011. “Solo” is not only looking like it will have the lowest opening for a Disney “Star Wars” film, but will also fall lower than the prequels. Three-day opening estimates are currently sitting at $82 million, well below the $108.4 million “Revenge of the Sith” made in its first weekend. If it continues to underperform on Sunday, “Solo” could see it’s three-day fall below the $80 million made by “Attack of the Clones” in 2002.
The “Solo” three-day is also falling below another film that underperformed relative to its franchise pedigree: “Justice League.” That DC crossover film opened to $93.8 million, a good result for other films but well below what a film packed with superheroes was expected to perform. After a normal Monday, the four-day total for “Justice League” sat at $101.3 million, and “Solo” might need the extra Memorial Day business just to match that amount.
Even before this weekend, it was considered a tall order for “Solo” to hit $1 billion worldwide the way the last three “Star Wars” films have done in the holiday season. There’s simply too much competition in the summer for it to reach that figure. Analysts who spoke to TheWrap this past week said they expected “Solo” to finish its run with around $700-800 million worldwide, a reasonable total for a stand-alone anthology film and similar to some solo Marvel films like “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
But to reach that range, “Solo” would have needed an overseas boost that it isn’t getting. China, which has never shown interest in “Star Wars,” went to see “Avengers” again this weekend as receipts for “Solo” in the Middle Kingdom only amounted to $10.1 million. The top market was the U.K., and that wasn’t much better with a $10.3 million opening. In total, “Solo” grossed an estimated $65 million internationally, which means it is estimated to have a global weekend total of just $143 million by Sunday’s end, less than half of the global opening for the last “Star Wars” anthology film, “Rogue One,” which opened to $290 million.
With this start and anticipated films like “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and Disney’s own “Incredibles 2” coming in June, “Solo” might not even have the legs to reach the $657.9 million that “Justice League” made globally. All of this is not necessarily a sign that “Star Wars” is in a long-term decline, but it’s not a good situation for “Solo,” considering it cost over $250 million before marketing due to extensive reshoots after Ron Howard was hired to replace directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
The other films in theaters this weekend did pretty well in holdovers. “Deadpool 2” is expected to make $54 million over the four-day weekend, giving it an estimated domestic total after Monday of $218 million. That’s about 10 percent behind the pace set by the first “Deadpool,” which is a solid performance considering this sequel is facing much stiffer competition than what its predecessor faced when it was released in February 2016.
Meanwhile, “Avengers: Infinity War” crossed $1.9 billion this weekend, and is now about $96 million away from becoming the first summer film to gross $2 billion worldwide. The Marvel crossover is looking at a four-day total of $20 million, putting its domestic total at around $625 million. In China, the film has $336 million, becoming the top Marvel release ever in that country and No. 3 among all Western releases. This also means that Disney has grossed $4 billion worldwide so far this year, so they probably won’t be too concerned about “Solo” impacting their bottom line.
Finally, Paramount’s “Book Club” has found strong word-of-mouth with its target demographic of older women and is looking at a four-day total of $12.2 million. Paramount paid $10 million for the North American distribution rights to this rom-com and is finding profit with an estimated domestic total of $34.5 million.