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When Solo: A Star Wars Story debuted well below expectations over Memorial Day weekend, it was hard not to echo the immortal words of Han Solo before the walls of the trash compactor closed in: "I got a bad feeling about this." That concern bore out this past weekend when Solo suffered a 65% drop weekend-to-weekend, with its domestic box office total still behind Rogue One's domestic opening weekend. This all adds up to a result that would have seemed unfathomable after Star Wars: The Force Awakens' brought the franchise back with a bang in 2015: a Star Wars film will lose money. More specifically, Solo will lose $50+ million for Disney.
That Solo was underperforming was clear, but this puts a point on just how much that underperformance is going to cost. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that $50 million estimate comes from Wall Street analyst Barton Crockett, but industry financing sources believe that Solo's failure could cost $80 million or more when the bill comes due. In its first two weeks in release, Solo has accumulated $148.9 million domestically and $264.2 million worldwide. However the film's budget was at least $250 million (possibly more), and that's before the multi-million dollar expenditure on marketing. It isn't looking likely that Solo will top much more than $400 million worldwide, which simply isn't enough to cover the coaxium it took to get this ship moving in the first place.
Up to this point, no Star Wars film in the Disney-Lucasfilm era has failed to crack $1 billion worldwide. That Solo may not even make half of that is truly shocking and even the most ardent of skeptics would have been truly prescient to have predicted a performance like this. It is possible that this throws into qeuestion the potential Solo sequels and Disney's release strategy. Needless to say, Disney will need to reevaluate the direction of the Star Wars franchise and consider how best to carry this property forward and what characters should do so. The next year and a half until Episode IX will be very interesting to see what's announced, what's cancelled and if any clear changes are made to prevent another disappointment like Solo.
Fortunately, the Disney Mouse doesn't keep all its cheese in one place and will be just fine. The studio is coming off a banner year with its Marvel properties like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, with Ant-Man and the Wasp still to come, as well as other titles like Incredibles 2. So Disney will be just fine and despite this high-profile miss, and so will Star Wars.