Earlier this year, box office analysts predicted that Solo: A Star Wars Story would have record-breaking box office numbers. However, the film fell well short of that in its opening weekend, and its numbers continue to fall.
Even though the film was still number one at the box office in its second week, it saw a 65% drop from its opening weekend. Some say it may have been due to Star Wars fatigue, but analysts are saying something different. According to some, it could have been due to poor marketing. More on the story below.
Doug Creutz, a veteran media analyst at Cowen, tells Deadline that Solo‘s low box office performance is due to poor marketing. The report eliminates any other possibilities that may have contributed to the problem. One of them being that Star Wars fatigue was setting in. While it may be true that there was a five-month gap in between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story, other franchises like Marvel Studios have no problem. Black Panther was released last February. Two months later, Avengers: Infinity War was released. Both had record-breaking box office numbers.
Of course, some believe that The Last Jedi may have been so polarizing that it had an adverse effect on Solo. Meaning The Last Jedi left such a bitter aftertaste for some fans and moviegoers, who may have taken it out on Solo.
But that doesn’t appear to be the case, according to Creutz:
“If the franchise was able to survive Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, we have a hard time believing Last Jedi could have done that much damage.”
However, the film’s troubled production may have been another contributing factor to its lower than expected numbers. But once again, it’s just one of those things that could go unnoticed unless you follow the industry.
So, it all comes down to the film’s marketing. Again, while the time in between the two films may not indicate Star Wars fatigue, it did not give enough time for Disney’s marketing team to sell the Solo as they would any other film.
The same Deadline report cites how Rogue One‘s first teaser trailer was actually released 247 days before the movie was release. That trailer sold Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso as the new hero. But the first Solo teaser was released on Super Bowl Sunday, 108 days before the film’s release, leaving a smaller marketing window. This did not give the team nearly enough time to sell the film or to sell Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.
And that began with those first two teaser trailers, Creutz said:
“The first 35 seconds of the [Rogue One] 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. The [Solo] 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.”
A lot of this makes sense. But the marketing team may have had too much on their plate as well. Disney was also in the midst of pushing Avengers: Infinity War. Though that film opened two weeks earlier than originally dated, Solo still had to contend with other heavy hitters like Deadpool 2.
While Solo scored a decent 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience has spoken. While this may cause Disney and Lucasfilm to rethink some of their plans for future spinoffs, they still can look forward to the saga films. According to Crutez, 2019’s Episode IX “will do quite well at the box office, probably exceeding Last Jedi.”
So at least Star Wars fans can breathe easy knowing that the franchise won’t die because of this one film. Disney will have plenty of time to push Episode IX. Of course, if you are a fan of Solo, then you could try just buying an entire theater’s worth of tickets.
Crutez also had one suggestion for Lucasfilm that many Star Wars fans will no doubt agree with: put Dave Filoni (Clone Wars, Rebels, Resistance) in a higher position.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our review and additional coverage as well.