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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by So Low Klady

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So yeah… not the expected number for Solo.

What does it mean?  It means you can’t let the brand sell itself.

The reaction from veteran marketers is fearful, but you that doesn’t really account for the fact that brands are being sold in much greater quantity, at a much greater pace, than ever before.

And people have short memories.

Remember when DreamWorks Animation went to three films a year? It lasted one year. Ancient history? 2014.

And you have to wonder, why would Disney break their own rhythm by putting a Star Wars film in summer and none at Christmas until 2019?

With this question, the question about Solo… why did Kathy Kennedy take the idea of breaking from the trilogies as well as scuttle it by firing the filmmakers who were hired to break from tradition? Will she ever admit that this was a mistake? Because what she got was neither fish nor fowl… and it shows in every bit of marketing.

The greatest irony is that Disney is the home of Marvel, where this code has been cracked to greater success than anywhere else. The lesson in how well Thor built to Infinity War and how Ant-Man and Doctor Strange were pure standalones that brought their own value before the characters were integrated into the bigger structure is very significant.

When I see a Larry Kasdan interview taking about Solo being off the traditional Star Wars timeline, first I say, “bullshit.” Then I ask, “If it’s off the timeline, how come it’s so boring?”

Rogue One should have been be,used as a one-off, but instead, LucasFilm took a terrible lesson from it.

(Spoilers for Solo coming!!!)

You don’t have to kill off everyone who doesn’t land in the trilogy timeline!!! The gag works once. Then move along!

Spoilers Over

If they wanted to do Young Han Solo, we should have seen the relationship whe these two were kids. If you wanted to make what the audience wanted, where were Jabba and Boba Fett?

Solo is no disaster, artistically or commercially. But it is an example of fear-based filmmaking at the highest level. And those wrong choices have met strong (come on, people… don’t lose your mind over expectations), but underwhelming box office.

And Deadpool 2, which was 100% committed to its foundation, should have moved up a week when Avengers did. Solo is making this weekend sad.

32 Responses to “Friday Estimates by So Low Klady”

  1. Thorough Henry says:

    Whatever the weekend number ends up being for Solo (probably $80-90), the big lesson here is how hard franchise building is, and how remarkable it is that Marvel is as successful as it is.

    This is the fourth Star Wars movie in the last three years and people are already put off by the market saturation. Marvel has put out four movies in the last year and the last two are the last two are on the list of top 10 (soon to be top 6 at worst) highest grossing movies of all time. For all that people complain about superhero fatigue, Marvel has figured out how to make movies that people want and need to see. Has any other multi-narrative franchise come close to accomplishing such a feat?

  2. Hcat says:

    Henry, agree with a lot of that, it speaks to Marvel having a really deep bench so it doesn’t feel like they are repeating thamselves constantly. But Marvel also has a leg up in that they are creating this out of whole cloth (inspiration of course from the funny papers) while Star Wars is operating under the shadow of greatness where their best will always be a pale comparison.

  3. Monco says:

    This is also a Last Jedi effect as well. I don’t want to get into that debate again but that movie is awful, controversial and has poinsoned the well for the future films. The backlash to that film was never as small or insignificant as the apologists tried to argue. This isn’t just an issue of over saturation although that along with contunually firing directors points to bad stewardship of the franchise by Disney. It reinforces that awful decisions are being made such as hiring a hack like a Rian Johnson and allowing him to do what he did to the canon.

  4. JS Partisan says:

    I feel like, a lot of the time, that the following statement gets a lot of eyerolls here. The problem is? It’s true. Marvel Studios has, in ten years, never insulted me as a fan. They have never gone out of their way to say, “Fuck you,” to me. LFL did that with TLJ, and they went all hardcore about it.

    Sure. I love Solo, but I have a history with the first Han book. This may make me different from other people. Whatever the case, other fans were not as forgiving, and here’s LFL’s Justice League.

    If Bob Iger is smart. He fires KK within a month, installs Dave Filoni has CEO of LFL, and states all future SW films outside of Boba Fett and IX are off the table. I have zero faith in them doing this, but the reckoning is here. If they really want to give Rian Johnson a trilogy. They are as insane, as they are inept.

    Bob and KK made Star Wars movies they would like. Turns out, that they really aren’t Star Wars fans. If they were? They would have realized how important it was to have Luke, Leia, and Han on screen together again. The moment this didn’t happen, is truly the moment the ineptitude started.

  5. Bob Burns says:

    Ron Howard and Woody Harrelson.

  6. Night Owl says:

    Domestic is one story, international is where it gets scary though. These numbers are underwhelming, but Star Wars as a domestic brand is powerful. The international numbers are horrendous. It will likely do less than half of what Rogue One did. Most knew there would be a drop…but that is atrocious. And now they’re going to try to sell a Boba Fett movie to international audiences?? Whatever budget they are thinking, they need to cut it in half.

    Solo wasn’t a path to go down. Move along. Oh and poor Emilia Clarke needs to stay out of genre movie franchises.

  7. JS Partisan says:

    Watch Emilia show up in a MSCU movie, and become a beloved superhero character. She’s great in Solo, because she plays the type of Star Wars character, that showed up a lot in the books.

    Oh yeah. HC, there are a ton of EU books, that they could have used as inspiration. What did KK do with LFL? Thought they knew better, and threw most of that material they could use to create interesting movies.

  8. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m not seeing SOLO until Tuesday ($5 bargain night all Summer!) but as a 47 y/o Star Wars fan, and even as someone who loved LAST JEDI (sorry JS. We can still be friends), I am feeling SW fatigue. I don’t need one every year. Especially when they are creating things from the ground up, mostly, because they threw out the EU, as JS rightly pointed out.

    The BOBA FETT movie, which is an awful idea to begin with, should be cancelled post haste.Mangold could surely make something of it but I’m just not interested.

    One last thing: Please give me HEREDITARY already. Please. I can’t wait another 2 weeks. I hope it’s opening wide.

    One lastier thing: Finally watched BLADE RUNNER 2049. Loved it. What a mistake I made not seeing it in the cinema. The only time it dragged or felt long was when Jared Leto was on screen, and thankfully his role was small. I’m not a fan of the DUNE books or universe at all but with DV doing them….I’ll be there. Guy is an artist and is on quite a roll.

  9. Dr Wally Rises says:

    I’d contend that if you took Rogue One and Solo, kept the movies the exact same, and just flipped their release dates,then they’d have each other’s respective box office. Franchise fatigue is a thing, even for Star Wars.

  10. GdB says:

    Nah, it’s not franchise fatigue as much as TLJ fallout and the fact that no one asked for a movie about a character played by another actor when the original actor’s performance is sacrosanct.

    What Monco and JS have said is on point. TLJ left a bad taste and Marvel never gave fans the finger like LFL did never putting the original three together on screen and completely destroying their happy ending in Jedi by taking the very worst idea from the EU and give them a son who for no onscreen explanation becomes Hitler over a boner for grandpa. GTFO with that ruin these characters forever story choices.

    KK and Iger did not have the reverence for the OT three and never computed that the attachment to the franchise for many was the famlial relationship of those 3 way more than it ever was about aliens, force powers and lightsabers.

    ETA: Though I will concede Solo probably would’ve done better had it released before KK and Iger told/let Rian Johnson character assisinate Luke Skywalker.

  11. Christian says:

    SB: Great shoutout to BR:2049 – a reminder of how exciting a sequel can be. And I say that as someone who, like you, loved TLJ – and who, I should admit, wasn’t all that keen on BR:2049 the first time I watched it. A second viewing helped it to sink in, deep. It’s spectacular.

  12. Christian says:

    Also: Yeah, both BR:2049 viewings were on the big screen. No use now in kicking yourself for missing it theatrically, but I imagine you’ll be able to catch a repertory screening of it someday. You’re in the DC market, right? I think AFI Silver recently showed it,

  13. Night Owl says:

    Eh, I don’t know about that Dr. Wally, certainly not worldwide and probably not opening weekend-wise. Leaving aside the movies and just looking at the marketing campaigns: Rogue One’s trailers were spectacular, emotional, and full of money shots. They also had a far more interesting and international cast to sell. Solo’s trailers had that one shot of the Destroyer in the cloud and otherwise were….cute.

    As David said in the article, you can’t let the brand sell itself. After Rogue One’s trailers I had non-fan friends ask me about it for two reasons; they thought it looked exciting and they had heard you didn’t have to have seen other Star Wars. What did the Solo trailers sell that would make a general audience member rush to spend their money?

  14. GdB says:

    Hey SB, if it helps at all, I had a pretty terrible viewing experience with BR 2049 at The Grove (popular theater here in LA) in that the sound was way too loud and I sincerely walked out with hearing damage. It really kinda ruined the film for me. I own it, but whenever I try to go back and watch it, I kinda feel this pavlovian response to how much I was cringing at the sound mix; reminding me of how abrasive it was in the theater and I usually end up switching back to Thor 3. My new favorite comedy.

    So take some solace knowing that seeing the movie in the theater had a negative reaction to the film for at least one viewer.

    Plus the film didn’t look Cyberpunk for shit

  15. Pete B says:

    Gotta laugh that The Last Jedi ruined the “happy ending in Jedi”. It was The Force Awakens that had Luke missing, split up Han & Leia, and then had Han’s son kill him. But yeah, damn that TLJ!

  16. Monco says:

    No JJ is a hack too and started the ruining of the canon. TLJ is just when the majority of fan base caught up to that fact that Disney is destroying everything Lucas built. TLJ was so bad it couldn’t be denied anymore.

  17. movieman says:

    Nice hold for “Book Club”!
    Only wish the movie was better.
    (The Nancy Meyers version would have seemed like Golden Age Cukor in comparison.)

  18. GdB says:

    Pete, perhaps you missed:

    “completely destroying their happy ending in Jedi by **taking the very worst idea from the EU and give them a son who for no onscreen explanation becomes Hitler over a boner for grandpa**. GTFO with that ruin these characters forever story choices.”

    Pretty sure that references TFA. I’ve gone on record here before saying exactly what you said above, which was well put.

    Again, you’re confusing me with JS. He liked TFA, not me.

    TFA lost me when they made the next generation Skywalker kid evil (again, worst choice to take from the EU as said above) and made me hate the film the moment they put the saber through Solo’s chest and took him out like a bitch (not in character)

    So, we’re on the same page.

    Can we be friends now or are you going to keep holding this grudge?

  19. Pete B says:

    Not holding a grudge. I just get tired of people crapping on TLJ but praising TFA. For the record, I enjoyed them both. I guess that makes me an “apologist”. I think the problem is folks holding on to the EU when it’s obvious Disney doesn’t care. You can either go along for the ride they’re now providing, or quit seeing the movies. From Solo’s numbers it looks like it’s the latter.

  20. Chucky says:

    Of course the Walt Disney Company doesn’t care. The main purpose of Hollywood has become high profits at low risk. Such is evident in all the brand-name movies and the endless hard sell.

  21. Sideshow Bill says:

    Christian, I’m in the Chicago market so I’ll get a shot. Interesting about the sound because I don’t have a very powerful sound system at all but it rocked my senses.

  22. JS Partisan says:

    Pete, the problem isn’t fans. That’s the problem. The people with the power at LFL are the problem. TFA, is a nostalgia fest, but it sets up a story, that’s never continued. Again. Who looks at the success of the MSCU, and goes, “Nah. We don’t need story continuity!” It’s insane that TLJ exist at all. It should have never been a thing in the first place, but Bob and Kathleen aren’t really fans. They are making films they would like and they aren’t the people who made Star Wars… Star Wars.

    It bums me out, that Disney has completely mismanaged this property. TFA is all about a mystery box, that TLJ didn’t answer. Rogue One has some really great characters, who LFL could world build, but they kill then all off and destroy the toyline in the process. Now. We have Solo, that is the cinematic embodiment of all the problems people have with these movies, and people have decided to take it out on the best thing LFL has done under Kennedy.

    Again. This is why the MSCU is special, because it’s doing something that STAR WARS cannot do. Not even Star Wars can touch it. That’s something.

  23. LBB says:

    Weird. A movie that’s had almost a year straight of troubled production stories opened soft. Good thing another Star Wars movie opened in the meantime to be The Reason.

    Also: everybody wants to be Marvel now. There’s only one Marvel and it’s course corrected twice in ten years and come out on top. It may be imitated sometime from now but we’ll all be too dead to notice.

  24. palmtree says:

    I have to admit that everything predicted about Solo being soft due to TLJ backlash is exactly what has come to pass. Some people thought fans would still watch Solo since it wasn’t part of the trilogy continuation, but I think if you’re a fan and want to take your anger out on something, it’s gonna be whatever comes up next. So I guess congratulations.

  25. Heather says:

    I think its less abut fatigue and more about it being set apart from the main storyline. Force awakens had the original cast for the first time in 30 years Rogue One lead literally into the opening scene of A new hope. This is an outlier in every way shape and form…and the expectations didn’t take that into account And the marketing didn’t sell a story. Who’s the villain? What’s Han’s mission? Nobody knows

  26. GdB says:

    Pete,

    there’s nothing wrong with liking the films. There’s a lot to like about them. My true only issue with this sequel trilogy is how it/they chose to handle the OT three. From a narrative/story perspective on the characters to choosing to never have all three share a movie or even a scene for that matter. All of it is a big jugfuck. That’s really my only issue with these films. I’ve got no beef with anyone that likes those films. Lots of people do. I only clash with the hard core fanboys who want to paint everyone who didn’t like TLJ as MRA bigots because those assholes keep shouting the loudest about SW getting too SJW. Fuck those assholes. I love that the lead is a female and that the cast is POC. I have this big conflict even about TLJ because I hate the film but fucking applaud and love it’s pro animal message because I am a walking Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. So there’s lots of good stuff in those two movies. They just don’t outweigh how the new team handled the OT characters.

    JS,

    You are so on point on that last entry. That’s been exactly my take too. And the difference between Feige and KK seems to be; Feige has a reverence for the original material, whereas KK seems to only have an appreciation for the original material she’s working off of. And because so, she allowed narrative designs to pass that really alienated hardcore fans who are invested in those three characters and the family they created arguably more than anything else in the franchise.

    I was always a Marvel fan. I’ve got a respectable collection of some of their best stuff from the 90’s. But I was always a DC guy way more and Star Wars the most. DC because I’m a huge Batman fan and like the bold primary colors they use in a lot of their books.

    Yet, I can’t stop watching Black Panther, Thor 3 and Spiderman: Homecoming on my 4K setup and they just hit that button that Star Wars did as a kid that turned me into a film nerd and I just keep getting more out of each viewing. Meanwhile, I can’t get past the first 35min of TLJ before turning it off in disgust. And a lot of it has to do with JS’s mention of one big shared narrative over ten years and over a dozen films. To me that is a commendable and admirable achievement.

    If you would’ve told me ten or fifteen years ago Marvel movies would be replacing Star Wars as my cinematic heroin, I would’ve laughed at you so hard and said No way.

    Yet here we are, with Black Panther giving me the chills and me giving The Last Jedi the finger. I never would’ve expected it.

    One things for sure. I think this new team has proven that Lucas and the prequels it was not a fluke by the creator that they were poorly received; and he does not deserve sole blame for “ruining the franchise”.

    I think this new Disney team has demonstrated quite capably that its just not easy to make a good Star Wars film. At least on a narrative level.

    People say ANH and Empire are the best of all the movies. If you notice, those are the only two where the stakes and the emotional investment in the characters were about each other. And when Jedi split the team up and made Luke get a little Jedi pious and made the stakes about saving the universe, the perceived quality dropped.

    Thus I argue, the emotional investment in SW is as much or more about those three characters than anything else whether the fan themselves realize it or not.

    Now they’ve been handled not with any reverence but as a commodity. And the results are catching up to them this weekend.

    Idk anyone who wants to see an Obi-Wan or Boba Fett movie. I can tell you right now before even a frame is shot they will be received like this film if not worse.

  27. Bitplaya says:

    Saw a 4:40 show on a Saturday not even a third full. Audience was stone silent through most of it. Not a good movie, not a crowd pleaser. Watching it was like homework. I hated how assholes made all kinds of social justice issues the reason TLJ didn’t work. The reality is they got characters very wrong and had them act in ways that made no sense. It was a big fuck you to fans of basic story telling and of the other movies.

    I’d love for these movies to be different in a profound way but still good. Theydon’t have the balls but hopefully they will find them. They did a piss poor job casting this movie save Glover. I can’t imagine the financials wouldn’t have been better for the Lord and Miller cut. They don’t spend $100,000,000 re-shooting everything and if it delivered any laughs you might get repeat viewing. As it this movie doesn’t provide any fun or spectacle. Just unflavored oatmeal.

    Maybe they were improving because the script sucked? Which it did.

  28. Triple Option says:

    Bob Burns wrote:
    Ron Howard and Woody Harrelson.”

    Yeah, that gave me pause, too. Until a couple of days ago I forgot that this was the film Opie stepped in to clean up. I like his work and would definitely see more of his films in the future but watching Solo and seeing Woody Harrelson, who I didn’t know was in it, it just made me think this is a case of What Would Wall St Do? I can’t even say this was the safe choice because that would be more of a “who’s a b.o. draw?” casting stunt. This seemed more like the equivalent to bringing Jeff Garcia when your #1 QB goes down wk 6 with a torn ACL.

    I also did think, while waiting for the mountain of previews to get through – which, I have to say, there were a lot of freckin’ kids movies being advertised, like young kids, to the point I wondered if I was in the right theater – but I thought, ‘What the heck am I doing here? It’s a 3 day w/e, it’s not raining, don’t I have anything better to do?’ Not a specific, ‘Oh, I should be cleaning/getting ready for work/taking my car in to get fixed/doing my taxes’ kind of guilt but just a reminder of how unpysched I was to see the film. I’d click the cursor over fatigue as being the primary culprit.

    One thing I think Marvel has done well is mixed the genres within their films. Yes, they’re superhero films but Spidey II is first a love story, Winter Soldier is a political thriller, Ant-Man is a heist. People are talking about how Last Jedi killed everything but hell if I could tell you what happened in Last Jedi verses Force Awakened without some prompting. The Star Wars films have really blended together to me. The only reason I saw it now and not $5 Tues was because I literally had nothing else to do and I feared I’d hear too many spoilers between now and the end of the holiday so that the film I wasn’t anxious to see but figured I’d get around to it eventually, stood more of a fighting chance of me enjoying it if I didn’t have the major surprises taken out for me.

    I don’t know if this film needs its based hyped up more for it or me, someone who’ll more than 6 or 12 films a year in the theater but would classify himself as a big Star Wars or sci fi fan. You’d likely need avid fans going 3-4 times to get it over the $Bill mark, but I don’t know the opening is due to people like me saying, “meh, I’ll wait for HBO or Netflix unless I hear it’s really good” or pre-sale, go opening w/e in costume who said, “Forget that noise, Disney’s got enough of my money.”

    I’m not sure what/when the next Star Wars film is supposed to be but if it just sits there at the b.o. then I’d have to think that there’s some type of post X-Men 3, let the buyer beware trepidation going on until they do something to redeem themselves. Maybe it’ll be long enough to where people will forgive them but my guess is we’ll be having this same convo it’s opening w/e Saturday as well.

  29. BO Sock Puppet says:

    If the hermetic law of polarity is true, then the epic success of Star Wars in the past must be mirrored by epic failure in the present. I think it’s been unfolding before our eyes from the first frames of TFA, but the public is finally catching on. With one major episode to go they have killed off Han, killed off Luke, and left Leia alive even although the beloved actress has died. Epic storytelling and fan-service failure. No amount of side-story movies or Rian Johnson trilogies can fix this essential problem. The golden goose is dead.

  30. Pj says:

    It’s gonna gross under 100M for the 4 day. It’s playing to empty seats overseas. It’s a flop by any measure.

  31. JS Partisan says:

    Oh. There are a lot of stories to be set in Star Wars, but the people running it? Not that clever. Also, it’s always white dudes, and they all sorta a look a like. That aside, you can’t have a modern film franchise, that plays this poorly in China. You simply cannot be this bad, and they are. I guess shitting all over the prequels, to people who know Star Wars as the prequels, was a bad idea.

    KK should lose her job, replaced with Dave Filoni, and they should delay episode IX to get it right. This is such a fucking embarrassment. The backlash is real.

  32. arisp says:

    This is exactly what needed to happen for KK to hopefully get fired (or at the least taste a little well-deserved defeat), and for Iger to put his foot down and give Kasdan his way-overdue walking papers.

    Hopefully the next series can recreate the lighting in the bottle feel that Guardians of the Galaxy provided.

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