Disney Executives Are Learning the Wrong Lesson From “Solo”

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Apologies for yet another article about “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. I’m just so fascinated by this movie’s failure, I can’t help but watch with wide eyes as everyone at Disney scurries around trying to do damage control.

There definitely is a sense among Disney’s Higher Ups that “Solo” fell short of expectations. The bigwigs at the studio are eager to point fingers and shift blame so that they don’t get in trouble. I suspect that this is really going to make a big difference to how Lucasfilm is allowed to operate in future.

According to the company’s Distribution Chief, Dave Hollis, a lot of the blame is coming his way. People within Disney suspect that the failure of “Solo” relates primarily to its summer release date.

Said Hollis:

“There’s a question of frequency, and how many times people will go to the movies. Is this too much and too soon for a third time in a five-week period?

“We have a lot of work to do in trying to understand this. We are all over it and will spend a lot of time digging into why things happened the way they did in various markets. We have a year and a half before Episode IX comes out.”

In reference to the five-week period, Hollis is specifically referring to the fact that “Solo” came out so soon after “Infinity War” and “Deadpool 2” – two big, tentpole movies.

Timing is(n’t) Everything

On this point, as I said yesterday, I completely agree. It was incredibly foolish for Disney to schedule their movies so that “Solo” and “Infinity War” were so close together, essentially putting their own movies in competition with each other.

It was also a mistake to assume that the inherent brand appeal of “Star Wars” was enough to kill “Deadpool 2”. In sticking with their ambitious May release date for “Solo”, Disney was clearly trying to muscle Fox’s superhero movie out of the picture, and that move has most decidedly backfired.

That said, as much as I agree that the timing of “Solo” was perhaps the biggest problems with the movie, I think that Disney might be missing the point with this.

People didn’t skip on “Solo” on opening weekend because of blockbuster fatigue.

The skipped “Solo” because the movie didn’t look like it was going to be very good.

“Star Wars” isn’t Infallible

This is a film that nobody asked for in the first place; one which doesn’t carry the same must-see vibe as “The Force Awakens” or even “Rogue One”.

If Disney wants to get to a place where they’re releasing two “Star Wars” movies a year (because, let’s face it, that is their goal), the company needs to make sure that the films they make actually have an audience.

Nobody was ever calling out for a Han Solo origin story – especially not with anyone other than Harrison Ford in the lead role.

There are so many other stories that could have been told; different movies that would have been more appealing than this.

If Lucasfilm had made a different movie, the result would have been very different. Heck, people turned out to see “Revenge of the Sith” in droves for a summer release, so the scheduling isn’t the only factor at play here!

Maybe it’s not enough to simply throw the “Star Wars” brand on a movie and hope for the best. Perhaps Disney needs to take more care in making films that people actually want to see.

I only hope that the company realizes this, rather than blaming the “Solo” release date for all the film’s woes.