‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Drops 65 Percent at the Box Office, Breaking the Wrong Records

Meanwhile, Johnny Knoxville sees a career low while Diane Keaton and Candice Bergen find a hit with "Book Club."
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Drops 65 Percent, Breaking the Wrong Records
"Solo: A Star Wars Story"

The weekend could have been worse for “Solo: A Star Wars Story”: It dropped 65 percent at the box office, but the projection going in was closer to 70 percent. Add to this a drop of 46 percent overseas, and we’re looking at a shortfall in the tens of millions at a minimum.

“Solo” likely scared studios off from programming any major new openings this weekend, which was a mistake. Last year saw the first June weekend thrive with “Wonder Woman,” which turned out to be last summer’s biggest domestic hit. This weekend, total box office dropped about $80 million, or 40 percent from last year. Last week the box office was about eight percent ahead of 2017, but this week’s freefall will bring that down to about 6.5 percent. If we can sustain that through the summer, that will be terrific — but that’s a big if.

Through 10 days, “Solo” is just under $150 million domestic ($264 million worldwide, with Japan the sole major territory yet to open). That could be around two thirds of its ultimate haul, which looks headed to $225 million domestic and $400 million worldwide. That will make “Solo” one of the highest-grossing, money-losing films ever — although still below the adjusted results for 1963’s “Cleopatra,” which managed to be the biggest film released that year and a studio-crushing flop.

In 2017, $225 million for “Solo” would place it at #13. It’s a stunning reversal after the last three Disney releases each proved to be the top films of their years, grossing between $550 million and nearly $1 billion. A trend or a fluke? Disney will have to wait with bated breath until “Chapter Nine” opens for Christmas 2019. Much sooner, we’ll see if it could be a virus infecting other franchise heavyweights like “Incredibles 2” and “The Lost World: Fallen Kingdom,” both of which open mid-June. (“Ocean’s 8” joins the fray this Friday, with decent if lesser expectations.)

Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley star in ADRIFTCourtesy of STXfilms
AdriftCourtesy of STXfilms

From the box-office perspective, summer began in late April with “Avengers: Infinity Wars” — but the releases this week don’t reflect the season. Three combined for $18 million total, with nearly two thirds of that coming from “Adrift” with Shailene Woodley lost at sea. STX is reported to be into the film for a combined acquisition/marketing cost of under $30 million, so it could justify the investment. The performance is on par with the opening of “47 Meters Down” last June. That sleeper went on to quadruple its opening, but “Adrift” will have to fight off some strong new openers to have a chance to do that.

BH Tilt’s low-budget (including lower-than-usual marketing expense) “Upgrade” managed the sixth spot after getting some buzz first at South by Southwest and subsequent positive reviews. A near-future thriller with self-driving cars playing a key role, it’s unusual to see a genre film show a gross on Saturday equal to its Thursday night/Friday results. This has a shot at holding on for more than two weeks, and potentially adding theaters (it debuted at 1,457).

Johnny Knoxville Action Point
“Action Point”

Playing a second week would be a gift for the latest Johnny Knoxville effort “Action Point,” a career low. His “Jackass” films once opened as high as over $50 million. With $2.3 million and ninth place, his moment seems to have passed.

“Deadpool 2” grossed nearly 80 percent as much as “Solo” going into its third week. That’s a 46 percent drop (of course, all films this week have an elevated comparison of the three-day Memorial weekend). That’s close to the third-week drop for the original “Deadpool,” which adjusted reached $300 million at this point; “Deadpool 2” stands at $254 million, still very good. Worldwide totals should reach around $700 million, even without China — especially impressive given its relatively modest production costs under $150 million.

The other Marvel title, “Avengers: Infinity War,” dropped 40 percent. It’s still #4 and made over $10 million in its sixth weekend. Domestic total is $642 million, and it will almost certainly fall a little shy of “Black Panther,” which is creeping up to $700 million.

“Book Club” dropped less than 33 percent with $6.8 million. It should reach $60 million, about a 4.5 multiple from its opening. Its four senior female leads come in at an average age over 70. Maybe Johnny Knoxville should consider costarring with them.

Female leads also head “Life of the Party” and “Breaking In,” which also showed similar holds. “Overboard” with Eugenio Derbez held on to 10th spot. The English-language comedy from Pantelion will be that production company’s biggest domestic success.

The Top Ten

1. Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$29,296,000 (-65%) in 4,382 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater allowance): $6,687; Cumulative: $148,889,000

2. Deadpool 2 (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$23,325,000 (-46%) in 4,161 theaters (-188); PTA: $5,606; Cumulative: $254,652,000

3. Adrift (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $35 million

$11,510,000 in 3,015 theaters; PTA: $3,818; Cumulative: $11,510,000

4. Avengers: Infinity War (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #3

$10,371,000 (-40%) in 3,570 theaters (-198); PTA: $2,905; Cumulative: $642,870,000

5. Book Club (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$6,800,000 (-32%) in 3,169 theaters (+169); PTA: $2,146; Cumulative: $47,317,000

6. Upgrade (BH Tilt) NEW – Metacritic: 65; Est. budget: $4 million

$4,458,000 in 1,457 theaters; PTA: $3,060; Cumulative: $4,458,000

7. Life of the Party (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$3,455,000 (-36%) in 2,511 theaters (-426); PTA: $1,376; Cumulative: $46,301,000

8. Breaking In (Universal) Week; Last weekend #6

$2,815,000 (-%) in 1,682 theaters (-303); PTA: $1,674; Cumulative: $41,346,000

9. Action Point (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 37; Est. budget: $19 million

$2,315,000 in 2,032 theaters; PTA: $1,139; Cumulative: $2,315,000

10. Overboard (Lionsgate) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$1,975,000 (-37%) in 1,228 theaters (+32); PTA: $1,608; Cumulative: $45,523,000

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