Los Angeles: Walt Disney Co. slashed its opening-weekend forecast for Solo: A Star Wars Story as early returns from theatres signalled a deeply disappointing opening for the company’s newest space adventure film.
Sales at US and Canadian theatres are likely to total $105 million to $115 million through the four-day Memorial Day weekend, Disney said Friday in an email. That’s a sharp cut from prior company estimates that ran as high as $150 million.
The Star Wars films are a key part of Disney’s movie slate, which also includes the hugely successful Marvel movies and animated features from Pixar. Solo was expected to be the lowest-performing of the Star Wars movies under Disney, but the new forecast undercuts analysts’ estimates and signals a poor public response.
Disney leads the box office this year on the strength of the new Marvel blockbuster Black Panther and the latest Avengers film. The company held a 34% share of domestic ticket sales through 20 May, according to Box Office Mojo.
The Burbank, California-based studio hasn’t revealed the full cost of Solo, but Disney changed directors midway through production and undertook costly reshoots. Variety put the budget at more than $250 million, before the tens of millions spent on marketing.
Early international sales, a crucial revenue source for Hollywood studios’ biggest productions, also look slow. Solo opened in first place in many territories, with an estimated Thursday-Friday tally of $11.4 million from 43 markets, Disney said Friday.
But in China, the movie looked set to earn just $10 million over the weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The only major market not opening this weekend is Japan.