I am going against the grain here.....the grain carved out by poo-poo reviewers (even though in the Rotten Tomatoes Aggregate it got 71 percent, 7 of 10 reviewers positive reviews...and was thus "Fresh"). And carved out by the 61 percent of those who went gave it a positive review with it averaging a 3.5 out 5 by those raters.
As a result it has had poor box office.
That budget is for production. Another $150 million was spent for promotion.
Will the film even make its cost back? Very likely but not much profit until it moves into DVD/Blu-ray sales. It will creep along domestically and in the foreign markets and hit $525 million according to industry forecasts.
I liked it and so did my friends. I have seen it three times going with different friends each time and I will watch it when it gets Satellite and then purchase it. Those are the characteristics that mark a great film for me.
OK this prequel is not particularly daring or innovative, but it is nonetheless entirely competent and enjoyable. Ron Howard is very skilled at blending interesting characters with interesting action. He does it here.
The movie is different but not off the charts crazy. There’s no Death Star or Starkiller Base, no Imperial Super-Vessel or HQ that needs to be infiltrated in order to turn off a shield or tractor beam or interstellar tracker. There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, no Jedi Order and scarcely a mention of the Empire. This is a movie set in the universe of Star Wars that, for once, doesn’t feel it needs to be a rehash/clone of Star Wars while still exploring the world of Star Wars that the first film (in 1977) stands on.
Solo manages to give the audience characters already inscribed in their cinematic DNA (Han, Chewy, Lando) and a relatively novel storyline that both fills us in on their pasts and opens doors that explore unique elements of the Star Wars Universe. The final act, in particular, offers a few unexpected twists and something very familiar. Even though Alden Ehrenreich’s Solo is a more innocent, less jaded version than Ford’s, let there be no doubt: This time, Han definitely shoots first (while hating to do it.)
Given all of that......What went wrong? How come it has flopped?
I think it comes down to Star Wars Fandom. Generally the verdict was a big thumbs down but for two opposing reasons.
There are the More of the Same Star Wars Enthusiasts who wanted a Harrison Ford Clone, and Jedi, and a Darth-Vaderish bad guy, and a big space opera battle, and.....
Then there are the Go Big fans who want to see more stories in a galaxy far, far away, stories that don't use familiar characters, timelines, or events as a passionless shorthand; instead of quick, narrative graffiti, they want filmmakers to paint a broader, and more detailed, portrait. They suffer from sequel fatigue.
The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi each walked the line between these two groups and were rewarded with big Box Office. All three were placed in the future on the Star Wars Timeline after the Rebellion has failed to reform life in the Galaxy, Luke's Jedi Academy has blown up in his face, and Leia and Han have split. They showed us new galactic vistas and new super villains with lots of cool gadgets. It was familiar and different.
But Solo is well done nostalgia and plays well to the first generation of Star Wars Lovers the best. The problem. That generation starts its trek with Star Wars in 1977 and closed the books on that phase of its life in 1983 with The Return of the Jedi.
That first film had a remarkable run......nothing else has come close.......
That audience is generally in its 50's and up. Not the core crowd for box office success. NOT ENOUGH TO FLOAT THE BOAT.
I saw Solo three times. But there are not enough of me's to make up the lag created by the film in its lack of appeal to the More of the Same or to the Go Big crowd. The film does a bit of both but not enough of either for them. I hope that there is a sequel. I would like to see more of this pair pre-Luke, pre-Leia, pre-ObiWan, and pre-Darth but I think the chances are slim.