Box Office Update – Solo continues to struggle; Infinity War closing in on $2 billion, worldwide
It’s not an out-and-out bomb, but Solo – A Star Wars Story is certainly the first film in the sci-fi franchise to perform this far below expectations in its first two weeks of release.
The second spin-off film away from the Skywalker storyline, Solo delivered an estimated $29,296,000 in its second weekend. That was good enough for first place, beating out Deadpool 2 ($23,325,000) and the only new release to hit the top 5, Adrift ($11,510,000).
Solo underperformed in its opening weekend, of course, delivering just over $84 million, and while the film now has a worldwide total of $264,188,692, it is hardly the bomb so many have labeled it.
It will likely easily recoup its budget and it will still make a fortune once it hits digital and home release. After all, it’s still part of Star Wars canon, and it has better word-of-mouth than many might have predicted. Not only has Solo been well-received by critics (it owns a respectable 71-percent score on Rotten Tomatoes), it owns an ‘A-minus’ CinemaScore, which tracks audience response.
Disney was doubtless hoping for a second-weekend rebound from Solo, and the fact that it continued to slump – dropping 65 percent from last weekend – does not bode well for a long theater life.
In addition to off-screen issues that led to the firing of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and the quick hiring of Ron Howard to oversee the rest of production, Solo was facing several daunting challenges once it arrived in theaters, too: Audience response to the casting of Alden Ehrenreich was timid; It seemed odd to do this story a few years after the character was killed off in The Force Awakens; Harrison Ford is still alive and “is” Han Solo for many fans; The change from a December to a May release meant it would only be five months between Star Wars films, taking away some of the “specialness” of the series; In-house competition from Disney/Marvel (Infinity War) and Fox/Marvel (Deadpool 2) made for a crowded genre market in theaters; It opened on Memorial Day weekend, one of the slower blockbuster weekends of the film calendar.
All of those concerns have turned out to be valid, and all have combined into the perfect storm of box office anti-mojo, all working against Solo. And it’s the first time the seemingly bullet-proof Star Wars franchise has shown box office vulnerability.
It would be very surprising to see Disney open another Star Wars film outside of December in the near future. It would be even more surprising to see the studio open any film from its stable within three weeks of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, as those have now proved to have serious box office pull and serious legs.
Infinity War, for example. The third film in the Avengers franchise finished fourth over the weekend with $10.371 million. That brought the film’s domestic total up to $642.87 million. It still trails the year’s domestic leader, Black Panther (another MCU film), which is now at $699 million. Infinity War is big – like, real big – overseas, still. The film now sits at $1.965 billion worldwide – good enough for fourth, all-time. It will likely pass The Force Awakens ($2.068 billion) in the next few weeks, and it could pass Titanic ($2.187 billion) for second, though that could be tough. Avatar’s record $2.788 billion is pretty untouchable, though – at least until its own sequels come out.
Deadpool 2 scored $23.325 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $254.65 million. It’s not going to compete with Infinity War or Black Panther, but Deadpool 2 – with an ‘R’ rating – is obviously going to beat Solo’s domestic box office take … by a lot. That’s saying something.
Adrift was the only new release to crack the top 5. Based on a true story, the survival tale stars Shailene Woodley and has benefitted from a decent ‘B’ CinemaScore and generally positive reviews (also 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). It opened with $11.5 million on a budget of around $35 million.
Upgrade, written and directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Logan Marshall-Green, debuted to $4.46 million. The independent thriller has a very positive 85 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The weekend’s other new release, Action Point, the latest raunchy stunt-fest from Jackass star Johnny Knoxville, opened at just $2.3 million on a $19 million budget.