'Solo' sputters in takeoff with $83.3M at box office

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Earlier this month, Disney made a lofty box office prediction for the stand-alone Han Solo film, Solo: A Star Wars Story. The opening for the super-expensive, problem plagued Solo is a major disappointment given that it's part of a franchise whose previous three offerings -The Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi- all opened north of $150 million in North America alone.

As most of you know, Solo takes place before the first Star Wars movie and follows a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as he befriends his future copilot Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). "Solo" grossed $65 million internationally in its opening weekend, including a paltry $10.1 million in China. The budget soared past $250 million. It also lags behind the most current standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opened with $155 million (GBP116.5 million) in North America in 2016. Down 44%, Infinity War has brought in $621.6 million domestically.

There was a time where we had three-year waits between Star Wars films (this was a good thing).

If we were to carry over that trend, we could expect to see Solo: A Star Wars Story hopefully around late November or mid-December. With Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and even the divisive Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, redefining rules in a blockbuster movie, fans expected a lot from Solo. Initially, it was to be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the geniuses behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street - which was great news as those guys have an excellent track record.

Given Solo's numerous struggles, Star Wars faithfuls were understandably concerned about the quality of the movie.

"Despite the fact that "Solo" performed softer than many had projected, a hugely competitive and crowded marketplace gave the industry one of the better performing Memorial holiday weekend totals", said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

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Grace Jiang, a 30-year-old office worker in Shanghai, said she took a chance on Solo based on the franchise's reputation, but nearly dozed off halfway through the film.

"It's the compressed timeframe between the two "Star Wars" films and the highly competitive nature of this marketplace".

While some have mentioned that the "Solo" results were a sign of "Star Wars fatigue" among moviegoers, Dergarabegian argued that the franchise "will be fine".

The magic around a "Star Wars" film may be fading.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to comScore.

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