While it may have broken a Thursday night premier record, Solo: A Star Wars Story is underperforming at the box office.
Industry projections put the second Star Wars spinoff film to make in the neighborhood of $130 million in its first weekend of release. However, current estimates are now placing Solo‘s four-day box office take for the Memorial Day weekend at $114.2 million.
This opening gives the film the franchise’s weakest opening since Disney bought Lucasfilm and relaunched the Star Wars franchise with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That film, spurred on by anticipation of the first Star Wars film in ten years, opened to a $247.9 million weekend. It’s follow up, 2017’s The Last Jedi, opened with a $220 million weekend. Rogue One, the first Star Wars spinoff film earned $155 million when it was released in December 2016.
Solo has received mixed-to-positive reviews, currently sporting a 71% fresh rating at review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences seem to responding to the film more positively, with CinemaScore registering an “A-” rating for the film.
So why is the film trending below expectations?
According to Deadline, several distributors opine that the low numbers may be due to Lucasfuilm and Disney releasing a new Star Wars film just five months after The Last Jedi was released in theaters. It’s an argument that does not seem to hold too much water when Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm’s corporate sibling under the Disney umbrella, has released Black Panther and The Avengers: Infinity War just seven weeks apart and both those films have been posting record breaking box office results. It is more likely that May has been an exceptionally big month at cineplexes with the aforementioned Avengers: Infinity War and the equally anticipated Deadpool 2 which opened last weekend has already strained moviegoers’ budgets. If that is the case, look for Solo to have some legs over the next several weeks as positive word motivates more ticket sales.