‘Solo’ Opens to Lackluster Sales on First Weekend

May 27, 2018, 7:32 PM UTC

The Force was weak with “Solo.”

Walt Disney Co.’s latest offering from the “Star Wars” film franchise opened to disappointing weekend sales in the U.S. and Canada, a rare slip for a movie studio that has dominated the box office for almost three years with serial-type adventures.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” collected $83.3 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the first three days of the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, Disney/ComScore Inc. estimated in an email Sunday. Box Office Mojo was predicting a three-day tally of $108 million.

The anemic returns mark a setback in Disney’s efforts to exploit the “Star Wars” franchise created by George Lucas. The company revived the brand in 2015 with the first film in a new trilogy and plans for prequels to the saga featuring Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. “Solo” is off to the worst start of four movies released so far under Disney.

Based on early returns, Disney on Friday slashed its estimates for the film’s debut weekend, predicting North American ticket sales through Monday’s holiday would total $105 million to $115 million. The company previously projected as much as $150 million.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” faced no new competition, but movie fans who weren’t traveling also had the option to see 21st Century Fox Inc.’s “Deadpool 2,” a Marvel superhero movie now in its second weekend, or the month-old Marvel hit “Avengers: Infinity War” from Disney.

Muted Holiday Weekend

The Memorial Day weekend isn’t typically a huge movie-going time. Only four other films have topped $100 million in their debuts during the holiday stretch, with the record of $153 million set 11 years ago by Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”

“Solo” was partly hindered by less upbeat reviews than Disney’s other “Star Wars” movies, with an average 71 percent approval on RottenTomatoes.com — the lowest score since “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” in 2002.

The movie opened in almost 4,400 North American locations. Alden Ehrenreich stars as a young Han Solo, the iconic “Star Wars” pilot and smuggler played by Harrison Ford. On a quest to rescue his first love, he teams up with Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover and finds the Millennium Falcon spaceship and a band of space outlaws. The film also reveals how Solo meets his furry co-pilot, Chewbacca.

Fans will have to wait until December 2019 for the final episode of Disney’s “Star Wars” trilogy. The first two films in the series, “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi,” along with the first standalone movie “Rogue One,” have generated $4.46 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

To keep the “Star Wars” story going after that, Disney has commissioned another trilogy from Rian Johnson, director of “The Last Jedi.”

In other box office news, Fox’s “Deadpool 2” posted a “strong” second weekend with $42.7 million for the first three days and an expected $53.5 million for the four-day holiday period, according to Disney/ComScore Inc. “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Book Club” and “Life of the Party” rounded out the top five.