Disney's Solo: A Star Wars Story marks the first box office failure for the franchise, since Disney purchased LucasFilm in 2012, with a new report claiming the studio could lose between $50 million and $80 million. Solo: A Star Wars Story is expected to take in around $400 million globally when all is said and done, from a budget that has been reported to be anywhere between $250 million, which is the budget listed in this new report, to other reports that claimed the budget ballooned to $400 million, making it one of the most expensive movies of all time. Here's what Barton Crockett, an analyst with B. Riley FBR Inc., said in a note to his investors about Solo's box office performance.
"This marks a tough return to movie reality for a Disney that had in recent years enjoyed a can't-miss mystique."
Solo: A Star Wars Story was the fourth movie released in the Disney era of LucasFilm, and it will be the first that won't end the year as the highest-grossing movie domestically. 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens set a new all-time domestic record with $936.6 million, although its $2.066 billion worldwide still fell short of Titanic ($2.1 billion) and Avatar ($2.7 billion). 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took in $532.1 million domestic and $1.056 billion worldwide, and while it was the highest grossing film at the domestic box office, it fell short on the worldwide charts, with Captain America: Civil War winning with $1.15 billion.
Last year's Star Wars: The Last Jedi won on both the domestic ($620.1 million) and worldwide charts ($1.332 billion), but heading into this year, many analysts thought that Solo: A Star Wars Story wouldn't be able to keep that streak alive. Disney and LucasFilm surprised many by keeping Solo: A Star Wars Story in its May 25 release date, despite extensive reshoots by new director Ron Howard that reportedly comprised of the director reshooting more than 70% of the original film. Another analyst, Doug Creutz of Cowan & Co., blamed the lackluster marketing efforts on Solo's box office failure. Here's what Creutz had to say in his report to investors.
"We think the movie's biggest problem was its marketing. To illustrate, here is the original teaser trailer for Rogue One. It came out 247 days before the movie's release, starting an extensive hype campaign for the film. The first 35 seconds of the trailer almost exclusively focuses on Felicity Jones as the protagonist Jyn Erso, selling her as a new franchise hero. The second half is dominated by the Imperial alert klaxon and Forest Whitaker's voice over, and practically screams 'EPIC' at the viewer, before closing on another hero shot of Jones. Now contrast that to the original teaser trailer for Solo, which came out just 108 days before the movie, offering a far shorter hype window. Disney's marketing department, in our opinion, had one job: sell audiences on Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo (who we thought did a creditable job in the movie with very tough shoes to fill). The teaser, by our count, only had about 10 seconds of screen time where Ehrenreich's face was clearly in the picture - not, in our opinion, nearly enough. In general, we felt like the Solo marketing campaign didn't get fully up to speed until about a month before the movie came out, and that is simply too short of a window for a big franchise picture."
As of now, Solo: A Star Wars Story has earned $148.9 million domestic and $264.3 million worldwide. While Solo did fare well with critics, with a solid 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that didn't seem to have a positive impact on the box office results. You can head over to The Hollywood Reporter for their full report.