Solo: A Star Wars Story has been released with mixed results at the box office, which has garnered responses from director Ron Howard and others at Lucasfilm.
According to Box Office Mojo, the Star Wars Anthology film made $168 million worldwide over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, of which about $103 million were from the United States.
This is actually the highest Memorial Day weekend results for any movie since 2014, but was well below expectations; in fact, Solo had the smallest opening of any Star Wars film (adjusted for inflation), which is problematic, since it is actually the most expensive movie in the franchise.
Nevertheless, Ron Howard put a positive spin on the situation when he commented about it on Twitter.
“Didn’t meet projections but amounts to a new personal best,” he wrote. “Check #SoloAStarWarsStory for balanced feedback & then C it on a big screen!”
Meanwhile Dave Hollis, the distribution chief at Disney (parent company of Lucasfilm), analyzed the results in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
He noted that one issue is what he called a “question of frequency”―how often people are willing to go to the movies in a short period of time. Solo came out one week after Fox’s highly successful Deadpool 2 and while Disney/Marvel’s own Avengers: Infinity War is still bringing in surprisingly full theaters, possibly smothering this new release.
He added that, with no other big movies coming for a while, the film may wind up making more in the coming weeks, at which point Disney will give a more decisive assessment.
“We have a lot of work to do in trying to understand this,” he said. “We are all over it and will spend a lot of time digging into why things happened the way they did in various markets. We have a year and a half before Episode IX comes out.”
Whatever the case, the people behind Star Wars must be a bit disappointed; with The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi all breaking $1 billion, the franchise has perhaps set up a standard that it cannot hope to meet long-term. Of course, both Lucasfilm and Disney are still having wild success lately, which will likely continue with June’s Incredibles 2.