Sci Fi Box Office: Solo Will Likely Lose Money, But It Won’t Kill the Star Wars Franchise

By | May 30, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters over the Memorial Day weekends and came in notably under projections with a $103 million tally at the domestic Box Office for the four day weekend. That is below the $150 million that Disney was projecting and the film is currently on target to be the first Star Wars movie to lose money. Of course, this one opened against very stiff competition from Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity Wars, and it is also the second Star Wars movie in the theaters in a six month period. Also, Solo came in with some excess baggage due to the fact that directors were changed after production started, and that caused the budget to balloon to the largest yet for an entry in this franchise. Currently it is on target to make around $250 million domestically, which will put it as the lowest grossing live action film in the series so far. Overseas tickets could get it to a worldwide gross of $400 to $450 million, but this one needs to come it closer to a billion if it wants to turn a profit. Here is a look at the domestic grosses for all of the live action Star Wars films thus far adjusted for inflation:

Film Domestic Gross Budget (M)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope $1,631,575,500 $39
Star Wars: The Force Awakens $990,334,300 $245
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back $899,334,600 $56
Stars Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi $861,584,200 $92
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace $827,258,600 $200
Star Wars: The Last Jedi $620,181,382 $215
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith $543,413,200 $161
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story $532,177,324 $200
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones $489,771,200 $186
Solo: A Star Wars Story $250,000,000 (Est) $300

Source: Domestic Gross and Budget comes from Box Office Mojo.  For Revenge of the Sith and prior, Budget is my estimate with inflation factored in.

The poor Box Office performance for Solo will not hurt the franchise as the tallies above prove, and it does not necessarily even preclude another film focused on Han Solo. But Disney will definitely want to rethink the timing of its movies going forward and also make sure it has the creative staff firmly in place before the cameras start rolling.

Believe it or not, there was other Box Office news concerning genre films over the weekend as the two most recent superhero movies, Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, continued to perform well (likely putting a dent into Solo‘s tally) and those were at the Number 2 and 3 slots over the holiday weekend. A Wrinkle in Time made a surprise return to the Top 20 as that one continues to hold on, likely playing the family movie card when there is not much else in that vein in the theaters. The other genre entries that were in the Top 20 last week all slipped some but continue to perform well enough (see rankings below) despite all the competition.

This weekend, the sci fi action film Upgrade heads into theaters with a wider release than originally planned, but I doubt it will unseat this last weekend’s top three movies. You can see the trailer for that one and more upcoming releases below and you can see our full Summer preview at this link.

Here are the sci fi and fantasy movies in the Box Office Top 20 for the weekend of May 25-28:

Rank (Prior Week Rank), Title, Week, Domestic Gross (Worldwide Gross), Budget

1 (n/a) Solo: A Star Wars Story, Week 1, $103M ($173M), $300M
2 (1) Deadpool 2, Week 2, $219M ($498M), $110M
3 (2) Avengers: Infinity War, Week 5, $628M ($1.91M), $320M
9 (8) A Quiet Place, Week 8, $181M ($313M), $17M
11 (9) Rampage, Week 7, $94M ($414M), $120M
14 (13) Black Panther, Week 15, $699M ($1.34B), $200M
18 (25) A Wrinkle in Time, Week 11, $98M ($130M), $110M
20 (18) Ready Player One, Week 9, $136M ($579M), $175M


Coming Soon

(June 1st Wide Release)

After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will “upgrade” his body. The cure – an Artificial Intelligence implant called STEM – gives Grey physical abilities beyond anything experienced and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead. RT

Credits: Leigh Whannell (Writer / Director)

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie

Hotel Artemis
(June 8th Limited Release)

Set in riot-torn, near-future Los Angeles, HOTEL ARTEMIS is an original, high-octane action-thriller starring Jodie Foster as The Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals. RT

Credits: Drew Pearce (Writer / Director)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto

(June 8th Limited Release)

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. RT

Credits: Ari Aster (Writer / Director)

Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

The Incredibles 2
(June 15th Wide Release)

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2”–but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again–which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible. RT

Credits: Brad Bird (Writer / Director)

Starring: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
(June 22nd Wide Release)

With all of the wonder, adventure and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful franchises in cinema history, this all-new motion-picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs–along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before. RT

Credits: J.A. Bayona (Director), Colin Trevorrow (Writer), Derek Connolly (Writer)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B. D. Wong, James Cromwell, Jeff Goldblum

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