3 reasons why Ron Howard thinks Solo: A Star Wars Story bombed at the box office

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Credit: Lucasfilm

Solo: A Star Wars Story had some drama behind the scenes with reports of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy having issues with the way Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were directing the film. Ron Howard took over as director and reshot most of the film. As a result, the film’s production budget was pricey with $275 million. After its release, the film has earned $392 million at the worldwide box office. This is really low for a Star Wars film, especially one that features Han Solo and Chewbacca. All the other Star Wars films under Kathleen Kennedy have earned over $1 billion each. Howard sheds some light on why he thinks his film bombed at the box office.

With a production budget of $275 million, Solo: A Star Wars Story needed to make over $500 million to break even. That didn’t happen, and it’s the first Star Wars film to do badly, causing Lucasfilm to rethink plans for other standalone films featuring classic Star Wars characters like Obi-Wan and Boba Fett.

There are many theories as to why the film failed. Perhaps Star Wars: The Last Jedi turned people off, and they decided to vote with their dollars. Or maybe people wanted to see new characters on the big screen. Another reason was that the marketing campaign wasn’t as strong. Well, Howard has three reasons why he thinks Solo: A Star Wars Story failed, with the first reason being the Memorial Day weekend release, and the second one being the story.

“Maybe it’s the idea that it’s too nostalgic,” Howard said during the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “That going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for. It seemed to me looking at the opening, big but not as big as the others, I think that was [only] the hardcore fans. [The drop-off] tells you how many people are tagalongs who need to wait to see what people think or if it’s essential, if it’s a zeitgeist movie or not. It didn’t hit the zeitgeist, for whatever reason.”

And the third reason? Howard believes the negative feedback from fans on sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes could have been a contributing factor.

“[There wasn’t so much hate on] the Twitter feed,” Howard continued. “But it was notable prior to the release of the movie in several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. There was an inordinate push down on the ‘want to see’ and on the fan voting. Some friends from Silicon Valley explained to me how it works. Under that circumstance, I did not take it personally at all but I felt badly.”

Kennedy has said that using the Marvel strategy for Lucasfilm movies won’t work.

“You can’t even do what Marvel does, necessarily, where you pick characters and build new franchises around those characters,” she said. “This needs to evolve differently.”

So what’s next for Lucasfilm? Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is hitting theaters on December 20, 2019. Disney+ will have its own live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, starring Pedro Pascal, which premieres on November 12, 2019. The next film after Episode IX won’t be out until 2022, and there will be 2-year gaps in between with the next releasing in 2024 and the other in 2026.



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