- Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told Bloomberg that “there didn’t seem like there was that much demand for another standalone ‘Star Wars’ movie” after “Solo” disappointed at the box office.
- But “Rogue One,” the first “Star Wars” standalone movie, proved there’s an appetite for standalone “Star Wars” movies if they feel like “event” films, Shawn Robbins, Boxoffice Pro chief analyst, told Business Insider.
- Also, the “Solo” release date, coming just five months after “The Last Jedi,” didn’t help its chances at the box office, said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore senior media analyst.
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Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told Bloomberg that there didn’t seem to be much demand for another standalone ‘Star Wars’ movie after “Solo” underperformed at the box office.
It’s the latest comment from Iger that indicates Disney doesn’t have any plans for future big-screen standalone movies in the “Star Wars” universe and will instead focus on TV shows for its upcoming streaming competitor Disney Plus, as well as a planned theatrical trilogy set to begin in 2022 (though writers and producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently exited the project).
“Solo” failed to crack even $400 million worldwide last year, while Disney’s other “Star Wars” movies had all made over $1 billion globally. A lot of factors contributed to “Solo’s” disappointing box-office result, which doesn’t necessarily mean audiences have had enough of the standalone “Star Wars” tales, according to box-office experts.
“‘Solo’ still made a lot of money,” Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore senior media analyst, told Business Insider. “It earned over $213 million in North America. But in the world of ‘Star Wars,’ that’s a pittance. [Disney] probably felt they put a lot into it and didn’t get enough out of it.
“Once the negative sentiment was expressed and the behind-the-scenes issues [were reported], it really hurt the movie,” he added.
“Solo” suffered from a barrage of production issues. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired late into filming and Ron Howard stepped in to replace them for a significant amount of reshoots. The budget inflated to $275 million. The end result was a 70% Rotten Tomatoes critic score and $393 million worldwide.
“Fans just want a kicka– movie,” Dergarabedian said.
There was precedent that the standalone movies could work before “Solo.” “Rogue One,” the first “Star Wars” movie outside of the main Skywalker saga, earned $1.05 billion worldwide in 2016.
“The demand for a story like [‘Solo’] is there to a certain extent,” Shawn Robbins, Boxoffice Pro chief analyst, told Business Insider. “‘Rogue One’ proved that. What hurt that demand was the quality of [‘Solo’]. Fans want ‘Star Wars’ to feel like an event.”
Timing is everything
Beyond the quality of the movie and the production woes that left a stain on it before it was even released, the “Solo” release date also didn’t help its chances at the box office.
Disney had released its prior “Star Wars” movies – “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and “The Last Jedi” – in December. “Solo” was released last May, a mere five months after “The Last Jedi.”
“‘Star Wars’ needs breathing room,” Dergarabedian said.
Disney is about to test that. While Iger has said the company is slowing down its output of theatrical “Star Wars” movies, it’s developing several TV shows for Disney Plus. The first of them, “The Mandalorian,” will be available to stream when the service launches on November 12. A show starring Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and a “Rogue One” prequel are also in the works.
“The temperature in the room for an Obi-Wan movie was red hot [among fans],” Robbins said. “That was the next big story people wanted to see. Now it’s a TV series. We’re in unknown territory with Disney Plus. The reaction to ‘The Mandalorian’ will be indicative of how people feel about ‘Star Wars.’ This is an important time in the franchise.”