'Solo' isn't Flying So High, Delivering Soft Memorial Day Weekend Debut
by Brad Brevet
May 27, 2018
Disney and Lucasfilms's Solo: A Star Wars Story topped the Memorial Day holiday weekend box office, but the film fell well short of expectations, raising a few valid questions. Was it too soon to release another Star Wars movie five months after the last installment and was the competition just too stiff from the likes of Deadpool 2 and Disney's own Avengers: Infinity War?
With an estimated $83.3 million over the three-day weekend, Solo: A Star Wars Story is the weekend's #1 film and while Disney is currently anticipating a $101 million, the question remains as to whether it will be able to bring in enough to reach $100 million over the four-day holiday frame. Disney entered the weekend projecting a performance anywhere from $130-150 million for the four-day weekend and with a reported $300 million price tag before prints and advertising this weekend's performance is extremely disappointing.
While competition from Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War certainly played a role in Solo's struggles, the small, five month window between the December release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo didn't help matters. Disney released the previous three Star Wars films in December, giving each a year's worth of breathing room, this was the first attempt at a summer start and had the price tag and expectations not been so high perhaps the smaller performance wouldn't appear to be such an issue, but as it stands this would appear to be a failure from a theatrical standpoint.
One caveat to that point is the live-action blockbuster landscape is relatively wide open between now and June 22 when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters. While Solo, Avengers and Deadpool will continue to fight for holdover audiences, should Solo hold on well next weekend it could slightly improve its position domestically. At this time, however, a $205-230 million domestic performance looks likely and its international debut isn't helping matters.
Internationally, Solo brought in a meager $65 million from virtually the entire international marketplace with Japan left as the lone major market yet to see release. Leading the way was the UK with $10.3m followed by China ($10.1m), Australia ($5.0m), Germany ($4.3m), France ($3.9m), Russia ($3.6m), Spain ($2.6m), Mexico ($2.5m), Italy ($2.2m), Brazil ($1.3m), Sweden ($1.3m) and Korea ($1.1m). The film will open in Croatia and Trinidad next weekend before opening in Japan on June 29.
For some perspective, Solo's domestic three-day debut was just 54% of the $155 million opening for Rogue One, its international performance wasn't even half of Rogue's $134.9 million overseas opening and that was without opening in South Korea and China. The top three markets for Solo compared to Rogue One show the UK opening was 48% of Rogue's debut, China was a third and Australia's opening was 46% of Rogue's. It will be interesting to see where the film goes from here as a worldwide performance anywhere from $525-575 million might be where this one ends up.
In exit polling, Solo received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, the first of the Disney-released Star Wars films to not receive an "A". Audiences were 58% male and 64% of the audience was over the age of 25.
Fox and Marvel's Deadpool 2 finished in second place with an estimated $42.7 million, dropping a hefty 66% in its second weekend. The film is expected to deliver a $53.5 million four-day weekend pushing its domestic cume a couple million shy of $220 million. Internationally, Deadpool 2 nearly topped Solo in its second weekend with an estimated $57 million, pushing the film's overseas cume just shy of $280 million for a global tally totaling $487.1 million. The film opens in Japan on June 1.
Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War finished in third, bringing in an estimated $17 million for the three-day. The film is looking at a $21 million four-day performance which will push its domestic cume over $627 million and move it up two spots on the all-time domestic chart, landing in sixth just ahead of 2012's The Avengers ($623.3m)*.
Internationally, Infinity War added $32.5 million for an international total that now stands at $1.283 billion and a global cume topping $1.9 billion, maintaining its position as the fourth largest global release of all-time.
Finishing in fourth is Paramount's Book Club with an estimated $9.4 million for the three-day and looking at a solid $12 million for the four-day weekend. The film continues to play well to its target demographic, as its domestic cume pushes toward $35 million after 11 days in release.
Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros. and New Line's Life of the Party with an estimated $5.1 million for the three-day weekend and looking at a four-day performance around $6.5 million for a domestic cume just over $40 million after 18 days in release.
Outside the top five, Global Road's Show Dogs fell much harder than expected. The family-friendly feature dipping 49% in its second weekend, pulling in an estimated $3 million for the three-day and expected to deliver $4.1 million for the holiday frame. The film's domestic cume will end just a bit shy of $12 million after eleven days in release.
Paramount's A Quiet Place finished ninth with an estimated $2.2 million for the three-day and $2.7 million for the four-day, pushing its domestic cume over $180 million. Additionally, the film brought in another $4.7 million internationally this weekend as its worldwide cume has now topped $310 million.
In tenth position is Magnolia's documentary RBG, this weekend delivering an estimated $1.1 million for the three-day weekend and looking at a four-day performance around $1.25 million for a domestic cume nearing $6 million. This makes RBG Magnolia's third highest grossing release of all-time with a chance it tops 2017's I Am Not Your Negro ($7.1m) to become the studio's all-time highest grossing title.
Next weekend takes a break from the blockbuster fare as Paramount re-teams with Johnny Knoxville for Action Point, opening in ~2,000 locations; STX will debut the stranded at sea thriller Adrift in approximately 2,900 theaters; and Universal and BH Tilt will debut Upgrade in ~1,400 locations.
You can check out all of this weekend's three-day estimated results right here and we'll have four-day estimates tomorrow followed by weekend actuals on Tuesday afternoon.
* For now it remains in seventh position prior to Monday estimates being reported.
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