“Solo” could be Disney’s first Star Wars film to lose money

They can’t all be winners.
They can’t all be winners.
Image: Star Wars/Disney
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Disney is starting to see the limits of its Star Wars film franchise.

The latest release, Solo: A Star Wars Story, could be the first Star Wars film under Disney to lose money. The film, which made a disappointing debut in the US on May 25, could lose more than $50 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which cited estimates from a Wall Street analyst and industry financing sources.

Solo is expected to gross little more than $400 million worldwide at the box office during its full run, against an estimated $250 million production budget and multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, the publication reported. Thus far, the space Western centered on a young Han Solo has grossed about $264 million at the global box office, ComScore data show, after losing steam again during its second week in theaters.

A $400 million box office run would make Solo the worst performing original release of a live-action Star Wars film, based on Box Office Mojo data. The movie also had the worst reviews of Disney’s four Star Wars films, to date.

To be sure, Solo probably won’t hit Disney’s bottom line too hard, seeing as the studio is coming off the unbridled success of Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther this year. It’s next release, Incredibles 2, is also one of the most anticipated films of the summer. The studio could make up a Solo box-office loss with home entertainment, TV, streaming video, and other ancillary revenue streams—the precise terms of which are also unknown the Hollywood Reported noted.

But Solo is the first major Star Wars misstep since Disney acquired studio Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion—a sum its first three blockbusters combined easily earned back at the box office. Disney transformed the beloved franchise into a money-making machine as its record-setting films spurred sales of toys and other merchandise. The films also lead to the creation of two upcoming Star Wars-themed lands at the media conglomerate’s biggest parks. Franchise fatigue, poor timing following two major superhero releases, and a weak marketing campaign may all have contributed to Solo’s surprisingly lackluster performance.