Long Range Tracking: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

What to (Reasonably) Expect from Disney and Lucasfilm's Second STAR WARS Anthology Film

For the first time since Revenge of the Sith in 2005, a new Star Wars movie will open in May — just in time for Memorial Day weekend, which can often be a very lucrative time for the film industry as schools begin their summer break. In fact, Solo‘s release date will mark the exact 41st anniversary of the original Star Wars: A New Hope‘s theatrical release on May 25, 1977.

Read on for a detailed analysis of what to expect from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Boxoffice’s first official tracking projections for the film, plus other updates, can be found in the chart below.

The Disney-Star Wars Era So Far…

The Star Wars franchise has prospered about as well as anyone could have imagined since the Disney ownership era began five and a half years ago. Kathleen Kennedy has successfully led Lucasfilm and the entertainment industry’s top tier brand name through the course of three films thus far, amassing nearly $2.1 billion in North America and over $4.45 billion worldwide.

That’s not even counting ancillary revenue streams like home video/streaming sales, merchandising, novelizations, and the acclaimed Star Wars Rebels animated series that just wrapped up a four-season run through the Mouse House’s television arm.

Drama!

The elephant in the room when it comes to any early analysis on the forthcoming Solo is inevitably the film’s highly publicized directorial shake-up last summer. To be fair, though, Rogue One endured its own version of behind-the-scenes drama, prematurely spooking fans but ultimately turning out to be a hugely successful and well-received blockbuster.

The truth is that very few films in the entire franchise have ever escaped some sort of production turmoil (whether perceived or genuine) that spawned unnecessary rumor-mongering and panic among die hard fans (the original 1999-2005 prequels being the only true exceptions to this trend).

Yet, fans still turn out in droves every time. That’s the power of the Star Wars mythos: no matter how much criticism it engenders, fairly or unfairly, fans and casual audiences consistently return to the series because of its endearing characters and captivating storytelling.

Solo v. The Competition

With that said, from an objective point of view, Solo doesn’t have a some of the key advantages the recent films have enjoyed at the box office. Moving away from a Christmas release could easily shorten the film’s legs as it opens in a very competitive summer window. Releasing nearly one month after Avengers: Infinity War shouldn’t make that Marvel title a major concern (Disney was wise to distance the two films by recently moving the Marvel epic up one week).

However, Deadpool 2’s second weekend — if it generates positive word of mouth — will be aiming for some of the target older male audience that drives Star Wars.

On the other side of the fence, The Incredibles 2 is poised to be the animated event of summer (if not 2018), and that Pixar title drops in Solo‘s fourth weekend. Kiddies that often dominate the later-week runs of Star Wars flicks may be divided between Solo and Pixar’s long-awaited sequel, although there may still be room for co-existence between these films if word of mouth swings largely positive.

Star Wars v. Itself

Perhaps the most important factor will be the reality that Solo opens just five months after The Last Jedi. That’s an incredibly quick turnaround for a franchise that has already pushed out three huge earners over the course of three straight years. Many will argue that Star Wars is an exception to the rule that fatigue strikes all franchises, but this will be the series’ first legitimate test of that.

Additionally, the most recent Episode VIII stirred some of the most widely polarizing fan responses to the franchise since the initial release days of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Can you, like Mark Hamill and Rian Johnson, imagine what Twitter’s reaction would have been to the now-heralded final act of Empire had social media existed in the 1980s?

To that point, it wouldn’t be surprising for those highly opinionated fans to feel a bit of fatigue toward the franchise in a summer that looks to be jam-packed with potential blockbusters and with a prequel story about a character whose long-term fate is already known to anyone not living under a rock. That’s a key factor that Rogue One itself avoided by focusing on a cast of new and unknown characters.

Not having the euphoric buzz from The Force Awakens leading into this anthology film, as was the case with Rogue, is another important element to keep in mind.

The Big Picture for Star Wars and Solo

Expectations should reasonably be kept in check more than they have been for the franchise in recent years, but there is every hope that director Ron Howard has stepped in and completed a project that will entertain audiences as Star Wars has always done even at its “lowest” points. The barometer for success is not the $532 million domestic gross of Rogue One, and it’s important to ignore those kinds of short-sighted comparisons in the coming months.

Word of mouth and reviews, as always, will be crucial to the long term success of Solo. For now, a domestic gross anywhere between $350-475 million looks most likely. Early social media buzz and trailer reactions around this film suggest the franchise may be due for a bit of a rest — if only in relative terms to Star Wars‘ typical otherworldly numbers — before December 2019’s trilogy-capping Episode IX arrives with a renewed sense of anticipation behind it.

Still, none of this is meant to cast a shadow over the potential of Solo. Millions of fans and families still adore this series, and Han Solo remains one of the franchise’s most popular characters by far. Harrison Ford will surely be missed in the role, but many are excited to see Alden Ehrenreich’s youthful and charismatic interpretation, not to mention Donald Glover’s young Lando, alongside franchise newcomers Woody Harrelson and Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke.

This franchise has always served as an all-too-relevant parable for hope triumphing over despair, while simultaneously serving as fun, escapist fare built for all ages. If the efforts thus far of Disney, Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, and the entire Star Wars team are any indication, it will be the fans who embrace such a philosophy that Solo will best appeal to.

8-Week Tracking:

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Opening % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
4/6/2018 Blockers $16,000,000 10% $54,000,000 15% 3,300 Universal
4/6/2018 Chappaquiddick $3,500,000 $7,000,000 1,500 Entertainment Studios
4/6/2018 The Miracle Season $3,500,000 $10,000,000 1,700 LD Entertainment
4/6/2018 A Quiet Place $27,500,000 6% $85,000,000 6% 3,200 Paramount
4/13/2018 Rampage $31,000,000 15% $72,000,000 11% 3,700 Warner Bros. / New Line
4/13/2018 Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero n/a n/a n/a Fun Academy
4/13/2018 Truth or Dare $15,000,000 $30,000,000 3,100 Universal
4/20/2018 I Feel Pretty $20,000,000 -5% $67,000,000 -4% STXfilms
4/20/2018 Super Troopers 2 $5,000,000 $9,000,000 Fox Searchlight
4/20/2018 Traffik $3,500,000 $8,750,000 Lionsgate / Summit
4/27/2018 Avengers: Infinity War $215,000,000 $538,000,000 Disney
5/4/2018 Bad Samaritan n/a n/a Electric Entertainment
5/4/2018 Overboard $14,000,000 $39,000,000 Lionsgate / Pantelion
5/4/2018 Tully n/a n/a Focus Features
5/11/2018 Breaking In $14,000,000 $37,500,000 Universal
5/11/2018 Life of the Party $21,000,000 $54,000,000 Warner Bros. / New Line
5/18/2018 Book Club $6,000,000 $19,000,000 Paramount
5/18/2018 Deadpool 2 $100,000,000 $242,000,000 Fox
5/18/2018 Show Dogs $8,000,000 $25,000,000 Open Road
5/25/2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story $150,000,000 NEW $390,000,000 NEW Disney
Shawn Robbins

27 Comments

  1. Avatar
    DangerS March 30, 2018

    That’s a reasonable prediction. I could see that happening, although I’m predicting something closer to a $130-140M opening (3-day; Holiday weekend will be well over $150M) and around $350-375M in the US. I also expect it to make anything between $400-500M overseas. It will still be successful (supposing the budget isn’t much bigger than the $200M of Rogue One and Last Jedi) but it will definitely be the lowest performer in the new era of the franchise.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Phil April 01, 2018

      You forgot that movie was probably filmed from beginning in 80%, it could cost 250-300 mln at least

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Pavan Kumar Porapu March 30, 2018

    The opening looks fine but the total makes it look like SO LOW A STAR WARS STORY.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Jeremiah March 30, 2018

    “most recent Star Wars Episode XIII” ? Its VIII not XIII, they haven’t pumped THAT many out.

    The prediction looks good but heck if it got Attack of the Clones numbers 80M opening/300M domestic it would be just fine on them. Yeah it’s lower but it’s not a disaster.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Sam March 30, 2018

    Yea I’m thinking more like $130M for Solo 3-day OW. The movie is being released in less than two months and we still don’t have a trailer for it. I don’t think this is going to pull a Rogue One and hit the $150M mark.

    I also think you guys are severely underpredicting Deadpool 2. The trailer got almost 30 million views in its first week so if the quality is there I’m expecting big numbers for that film. I’d probably have that opening around $120M

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Charles March 30, 2018

      A Solo trailer was released in Feb.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Sam March 30, 2018

        That was a teaser. Not a full trailer. And even still it is currently sitting at 11 million views which is awful for a Star Wars movie.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Ham Burglar March 31, 2018

          It is still a trailer. Just a teaser trailer

          Reply
        • Avatar
          Dolby April 01, 2018

          Stiff upper lip Sam….you’re doing great!!!

          Reply
  5. Avatar
    C.W March 30, 2018

    When did star wars 13 get released? i must have missed it.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jacen April 03, 2018

      Heh, let’s see. . . The original trilogy (3) the prequels (trilogy plus Rogue One plus Solo = 5) the new trilogy (2 so far) the Ewok TV turkeys (2, released theatrically abroad) and the Clone Wars movie (1). So, yeah, we got 13! Which means Ep IX is also film XIV.

      Reply
  6. Avatar
    Ronny Butters March 30, 2018

    Rampage 40 million opening weekend, can’t see how you’re missing that, bet!!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Cameron March 31, 2018

      I think Rampage will be closer to $60/70m on opening weekend.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Ronny Butters April 02, 2018

        Damn, if the Rock gets Rampage to 60 million OW he would be the biggest star in Hollywood, still feeling 40 mil Ow,

        Reply
  7. Avatar
    hemant March 30, 2018

    thr moment when you see !! solo is opening to 150 m …only thing come to my mind is-americans are the biggest ediots !!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jonathan April 02, 2018

      You’re right, should be more like $250M because there’s no way anyone is doing anything better than seeing a new STAR WARS movie. That should be priority number one unless you are battling cancer. But alas people are stupid and would prefer to watch Netflix sometimes.

      Reply
  8. Avatar
    Cameron March 31, 2018

    Is there that much buzz for Solo compared to Deadpool? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Solo lower and Deadpool higher.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Taylor April 04, 2018

      I have the same feeling. They could both end up at around $300-330 M.

      Reply
  9. Avatar
    Matt D. March 31, 2018

    Very low on Avengers still after the tickets went on sale and broke records, Deadpool 2 also low and maybe too high for Solo.
    My predictions:
    Avengers: Infinity War- $250 M OW & $700-725 M in total ( It will make most of its money in the first few weeks of its release, this is very optimistic but it is a possibility)
    Deadpool 2- $110 M OW & $300-320 M in total
    Solo: A Star Wars Story- $120 3-Day and $140 M Four Day and $330 in total

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Regnar's Wake April 02, 2018

      As has been said many times, it’s hard to predict when things get above 200M, hence their long range tracking just north of the first Avengers OW. Also worth noting your prediction of 250M would make it the largest OW of all time (beating TFA’s 247M). I think right now the over/under is definitely 247. How close can it come to TFA– can it beat it? I think I’m on the fence, but I’m sure it will at least be close. But there was 30 years of waiting for Force Awakens, the return of Han Solo– one of the most beloved characters in cinema– and an unprecedented level of excitement based almost entirely on the disappointment of the prequels and TFA looking a lot like the classic trilogy.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Jonathan April 02, 2018

        Wow that’s totally the wrong interpretation. Most people myself included love the prequels, and they established an even larger fan base. Don’t let the media narrative that “everyone hates the prequels” color the objective fact that they were all immensely successful, all received overall positive reviews, all scored A- or better CinemaScores, and all pleased most of the fans. BECAUSE they made a lot of new fans such as myself into die hard followers, we helped push TFA to huge heights. I saw it 42 times in theaters, so you better believe prequel lovers like me are responsible for the success too. The correct reading is that generations of SW fans young and old, not just half-witted old “fans” who only liked the first two movies, supported TFA because of our love of the franchise.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          ManOfBronze April 05, 2018

          the prequels deserve to be wiped from existence (the third was the best of the three, bad acting included*)

          Reply
  10. Avatar
    Mister Average March 31, 2018

    They should move Solo to December.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Taylor April 04, 2018

      That’s wouldn’t be a smart move since there is too much competition on December. MORTAL ENGINES arrives on DEC 14, and there is AQUAMAN, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL and BUMBLEBEE on Dec 21.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Alessio Pasquali April 06, 2018

        And, Disney has Mary Poppins Returns (the sequel to Disney’s 1964 “Mary Poppins” movie) coming out Christmas Day. So, it’s OBVIOUS Disney doesn’t want Star Wars to cannibalize Mary Poppins.

        Reply
  11. Avatar
    Alessio Pasquali March 31, 2018

    I’ll go with this prediction for Solo. Though, I’m gonna say $120M OW and a $300M final gross, which hopefully if that is its budget, means it makes it money back in America.

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Jack81 March 31, 2018

    I’m actually starting to hear good feedback on Solo with the test audiences that have seen it so far….
    Don’t be surprised if it does better then people think it is going to

    Reply

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