Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t hoarding cash, but why?

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Credit: Lucasfilm; from Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo: A Star Wars Story produced over $100 million in its box office opening, but it’s still seen as a failure.

When Solo: A Star Wars Story released in theaters May 25, it was accompanied by high expectations. After all, it is a Star Wars film, otherwise known as a money-making juggernaut with one of the biggest name brands in entertainment.

However, the early results for Solo were not good, at least against the expectations everyone had for it at the box office. That’s with a $110 million domestic opening, according to Box Office Mojo, as of May 29. Deadline predicted a $170 million opening over the four-day (Memorial Day) weekend, and while the projections don’t always fall in line it’s still a disappointment, given the $250 million budget Disney poured into it.

Why did Solo stumble in its opening weekend, though? We have three potential reasons why, so let’s take a look.

(Side note: An honorable mention is the behind-the-scenes drama, with the firing of the original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Would a change of directors actually influence viewers going to the theater, though?)

(Second side note: The weird rumors on Alden Ehrenreich needing an acting coach. It was part of the reported issues that included the fired directors. Whatever the case was, Ehrenreich proved much more than capable of playing Han Solo.)

Not superhero fatigue but an overload of blockbusters in a short span

Originally, from May 1 to 31, moviegoers were in for Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Three blockbusters in a one-month span feel like a lot, and it’s beyond the “Superhero Fatigue” idea since Infinity War brought home over $1.5 billion and Ryan Reynolds’s Merc with a Mouth should do about half of that.

Solo was not supposed to fall in the rearview mirror, but Deadpool 2 moved to May 18 and threw everything awry. Infinity War went to an April 27 release date, moving it three weeks ahead of Fox’s sequel, which was also just seven days before Disney opened Solo worldwide.

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Disney won’t have a problem asking everyone to see two of its movies in 30 days, but did Fox sliding between them cause a problem? If so, what if it’s just viewers without the desire to spend another $10-20 (depending on what type of viewing experience) in such a short period?

According to, in 2018, only 5 percent of moviegoers in the United States have gone to the theater two or three times in one month. It’s as of February, so, granted, this is not a strong sample size, but 2017’s ticket sales were among the worst of the past quarter-century, all while ticket prices continue to rise. That’s not exactly a promising trend for anyone.

The same Statista article featured just 13 percent of people that go to the theater once per month. If that’s the case did some moviegoers choose one movie over the other two or two over the other one?

It’s too many big-name heavily-marketed movies in a short time. Maybe if Disney pushed Solo into the summer it would stand a better chance at desired success. That also plays into the following “fatigue” factor.