After its second weekend in release, there can be no argument to the contrary; Solo: A Star Wars Story is a financial disappointment. The spinoff origin story has not only failed to live up to either early expectations or the standards set by its predecessors, and as a result, it is now on track to lose money for Disney. Up until now Star Wars had seemed unstoppable. Beyond just the saga films, Rogue One proved the viability of other stories set in a galaxy far, far away. But Solo proves that Star Wars isn’t quite the Teflon franchise we assumed it to be.
With an underperformance of this magnitude, it is natural to take a look at what exactly went wrong that led to such a massive disappointment. Star Wars will be fine, if it survived the prequels it can survive this, but it is still a useful exercise to evaluate why Solo: A Star Wars Story underperformed to better understand how different choices can be made next time to avoid this kind of letdown happening again.
The reality is that Solo‘s performance is almost certainly more complex than any one thing or any six, but there are some obvious culprits that may have led to Solo: A Star Wars Story failing to take off at the box office. Here are some theories as to why the new movie from Lucasfilm and Disney underperformed.
It is tough to quantify, but generally speaking I don’t think the wider public is as tuned in to the reshoots and behind-the-scenes production problems of most movies as the people who follow this industry. However, the production problems on Solo: A Star Wars Story were many and they were well publicized and were accompanied by a great deal of hand-wringing by the fans. It’s hard to imagine that at least some of that didn’t make its way through cultural osmosis to the average Star Wars fan. From the directors being fired not long before production on Solo was set to finish to the rumors about Alden Ehrenreich’s acting, there were a lot of concerns heading into this movie. Ron Howard came in and with great efficiency reshot a lot of the film, but despite his resume, the very fact that so much had to be reshot set off alarm bells. Audiences may not have seen a fire, but there was certainly a lot of smoke.