Over the past couple of days, I’ve noticed many Star Wars fans adamantly defending Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s opening weekend box office collection. I came across many comments that read, “It made US$ 168 million! It’s a huge success. Haters can f*ck off!” If you think a US$ 168 million opening is a success, then you’re either delusional or ill-informed. Don’t worry, we shall go through the ways of the Force together.
Had Solo grossed US$ 168 million in its opening weekend in the US, it would’ve been considered a box office success (though, still not in the same league as the previous three Star Wars movies). Except, Solo did not gross that amount in the US alone. It grossed US$ 168 million globally.
Opening weekends of the previous three Star Wars movies:
Solo grossed US$ 103 million in the US and US$ 65 million outside of the US. Here’s another important fact: All three of the previous Star Wars movies opened a few weeks later in China, which means the ‘outside US’ box office total in the table above does not even include the second biggest movie market in the world. Solo, on the other hand, was released in China last week too, and so its US$ 168 million collection includes the second biggest moviegoing market in the world.
China doesn’t seem to give two tiny rats’ ass about Star Wars, though, with each movie making less than its predecessor. The Force Awakens grossed US$ 124 million over there, Rogue One a mere US$ 30 million and The Last Jedi, a mere US$ 28 million. While these dwindling numbers in China have prevented the previous two Star Wars movies from crossing the US$ 1.5 billion global gross at the end of its run, those movies still managed to stay above the US$ 1 billion dollar mark, because of overwhelming love outside of China. The problem with Solo is, nobody seems to really care about the movie outside of China, as well.
Of course, Solo has only been out in cinemas for one week, but we have to keep in mind that movies make the most money in its first weekend. In its first weekend, Justice League grossed US$ 278 million globally. At the end of its run, it raked in US$ 657 million, well below its target. IF Solo follows Justice League‘s trend, it will end its run with less than US$ 600 million. I use Justice League as a template because just like Solo, it has an overblown budget due to behind the scenes issues (more on that later) and performed underwhelmingly at the box office. Justice League had Thor: Ragnarok and Coco as competition, while Solo still has to fight against Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and in the coming weeks will face off against Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The road ahead is very, very bumpy.
We have to take Solo‘s overblown budget into consideration.
Here are two scenarios:
Movie A has a production budget of 1 buck. It goes on to gross 9 bucks at the box office.
Movie B has a production budget of 9 bucks. It goes to gross 9 bucks at the box office.
Is Movie B considered a box office success, too? No, of course not. A film’s production budget must always be taken into consideration when discussing whether or not it is a box office success. Just like Justice League last November, Solo underwent massive production issues with the firing of directors Lord and Miller at the eleventh hour and the hiring of Ron Howard to steer the ship to safety. It is reported that Ron Howard reshot almost the ENTIRETY of Solo, doubling its budget in the process. There are sources that estimate Solo‘s production budget to be around the US$ 300 million mark, just like Justice League.
Earlier I predicted that Solo will gross slightly over/under US$ 600 million at the end of its run. That’s still pretty good, considering its US$ 300 million production budget right? Wrong. Experts suggest that due to the extensive cost studios spend on marketing, etc., a movie needs to make approximately twice its production budget globally, before actually seeing profits.
Simplified ‘layman’s’ calculation (estimation):
Solo‘s production budget : US$ 300 million
x 2 — factoring in marketing, etc : US$ 600 million
Predicted gross profit : US$ 600 million
Profits : US$ 0
I came across this tweet yesterday.
Since everyone's tweeting about #SoloAStarWarsStory box office:
It's Ron Howard's best opening weekend.
Ant-Man didn't break 600 million.
Doctor Strange *only* made 677 million.
The highest of the new Star Trek's topped out at 467 million.
Star Wars is just fine.
— Andrew Seiner (@AndrewSeiner) May 27, 2018
I completely agree that Star Wars is just fine. This is the first movie out of the four that have come out in this new Disney era of Star Wars that hasn’t broken the bank. Solo is nothing but a small bump in a long road. But as Star Wars fans, we should stop comparing this movie to the likes of Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. First of all, prior to their respective films, nobody other than hardcore comic book nerds has ever heard of Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, while Han freaking Solo has been a mainstay in pop culture since 1977. Second of all, we also have to take Ant-Man’s US$ 130 million and Doctor Strange’s US$ 165 million production budget into consideration.
Guys, let’s not be sore losers. Solo is a box office bomb and that’s okay. Star Wars will destroy the box office again next year when Episode IX hits the big screens. There are lessons to be learned from Solo‘s box office fumble and hopefully, Lucasfilm learns em, so that future Star Wars movies do not suffer the same fate.
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