Disney Unlikely to Release ‘Star Wars’ Movies So Close Together Again After ‘Solo’ Disappointment

     May 29, 2018

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There’s a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking going on with regards to the disappointing opening weekend of Solo: A Star Wars Story, but really the only analysis that matters is the kind going on inside Disney and Lucasfilm, since they’ll be making the decisions going forward. There are plenty of theories as to why Solo disappointed—crowded release corridor, poor marketing, lackluster reviews—but one apparently has resulted in a lesson learned for Disney.

When directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired off of Solo and replaced with Ron Howard last summer, almost everyone assumed Disney would push Solo back from its May release date into the December arena that served as the successful launching pad for the three previous Star Wars films. Instead, Howard admirably got the job done just under the wire, as Disney for some reason felt it was important to meet the Memorial Day Weekend release date.

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Image via Lucasfilm

Well, THR cites sources saying that while the studio isn’t abandoning its plan of releasing a new Star Wars movie every year anytime soon (they still have shareholders to please), insiders tell the outlet that Disney and Lucasfilm aren’t likely to release two Star Wars movies so close together again, regardless of whether they’re sequels or anthology films. Indeed, Solo opened just five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Star Wars fatigue was cited as one of the reasons behind the poor box office performance.

Solo managed $103 million for the four-day Memorial Day weekend, but even with the extra day the film fell well behind opening day grosses for Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. And for its three-day total of $84.7 million, Solo marked the lowest opening for a Star Wars movie since 2002’s Attack of the Clones. So while $103 million is nothing to scoff at, it’s far below projections—and the film unmistakably bombed overseas with an international haul of just $65 million. Although it should be pointed out that the Star Wars franchise in general has had a hard time scoring Marvel-like numbers overseas.

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Image via Lucasfilm

One thing that didn’t cause the disappointing opening weekend for Solo was the so-called “boycott” in the wake of The Last Jedi. Boycotts have been called for all kinds of movies, and they never, ever work. Indeed, Solo faltered at the box office not because of disinterest from Star Wars fans, but due to lack of interest from more casual moviegoers. That’s the audience that rockets these kinds of films towards record-breaking heights, and with Solo it simply wasn’t there opening weekend.

So yeah, Disney has at least learned one lesson when it comes to crowding the marketplace with Star Wars movies, even if they seem to want to turn this franchise into a Marvel-like dominating force. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t have pushed Solo back to December, where it no doubt would have fared better with far less blockbuster competition, but at least now fans get a big break before Star Wars: Episode IX opens in December 2019.

For more on Solo, peruse links to our recent articles below:

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