The latest "Star Wars" participation will have another chance this weekend to convince the audience. It will need it.
The "Solo: A Star Wars Story" box-office numbers that narrate the backstory of the series "Han Solo" have far undercut the industry's expectations.
The film was originally intended to pull $ 1
While such a litter would be welcome news for many films, it is disturbing for such a famous franchise. "Solo" also cost $ 250 million, which was widely reported without counting marketing and sales, meaning that there is still a long way to go before it can recoup its costs.
"I think the break even will be very difficult," said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations.
Bock said the film has been damaged by the lackluster response so far, adding that he expected to bring in less than $ 450 million throughout his run. By comparison, more than $ 1 billion has been spent on each of the last two Star Wars releases.
"I really believe that the majority of people have already come out to see it, who will see it," he added. "There is nothing that will save it at this time, and that's somehow the end result for 'Solo."
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The numbers have invited a lot of speculation about what made "Solo" go bad and what it could mean for the future of a franchise Disney invested heavily. There are a number of Star Wars movies and TV series under development.
Disney (in turn, has said that it is hopeful that the movie will perform well in the coming weeks. There is not much competition until the new "Jurassic World" movie will drop later next month. )
Dave Hollis, the company's sales chief, recently suggested in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the contest played a role in the film's subdued performance. It opened one week after 21st Century Fox ( "Deadpool 2" and about a month after another Disney hit "Avengers: Infinity War". )
"There is a question of the frequency and how often people will go to the movies," said Hollis The Reporter this week. "Is that too much and too early for a third time in five weeks?"
Bock said it was hard to find an opening weekend that would have helped "Solo" to do better. It did not open directly against a big budget action movie. And the holiday plan later this year is full of entries from "Harry Potter" and "Transformers."
"There is definitely time and space to see & # 39; solo & # 39 ;," he added.
The timing of the release has also led to critical reviews for other reasons. "Solo" debuted five months after the last "Star Wars" movie, "The Last Jedi," asking if the audience is simply too exhausted to substitute for another.
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Bock said that this could have been a minor factor, but added that franchise fatigue is not a big issue for Marvel, Disney's other major film series. There have been three major Marvel films released in the last six months, not to mention several TV shows.
Instead, Bock suggested that the idea of a "solo" movie itself was the problem.
Prequels with established characters usually have no drama because fans know that they are not in great danger. US fans may also have been upset by an icon such as Han Solo, played by a new actor.
"It's hard to bring back the love of a character without Harrison Ford," said Bock, a nod to the actor who produced the part of the 1977 classic. "This is a movie I do not think the majority of 'Star Wars' fans really wanted."
Despite the misfire, Bock said he thinks "Star Wars" – and Disney – could recover. He pointed to the success of "Rogue One", another spin-off in the same universe that came to life in the US and overseas a year and a half ago.
This film played new characters and was much darker in tone than other releases, factors Bock said suggest that audiences seek fresher ideas from prerogative.
"There is a universe of possibilities with Star Wars," he added. "There's a reason they paid $ 4 billion for the property."
CNNMoney (New York) First published May 31, 2018: 6:13 pm ET