Not just because of its production woes – midway through filming, Lucasfilm chose to part ways with erstwhile directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller due to creative differences; not unlike how Rogue One called upon Tony Gilroy to overhaul the film’s third act – but because of its box office ambitions.
Frankly, no one expected Solo: A Star Wars Story to reach the dizzying heights of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, and sure enough, figures relayed by Deadline have confirmed that Ron Howard’s Western-tinged origin movie is headed for a record $170 million Memorial Day launch, placing it well ahead of Rogue One‘s own opening weekend cume of $155M.
These figures represent industry projections, and therefore shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Nevertheless, even if tracking fluctuates, a $170M bow will be good enough to see Solo outstrip previous Memorial Day launches like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($139.8M) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($126.9M).
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Deadline’s report also mentions that Solo: A Star Wars Story is also performing “pretty strongly” in unaided awareness, notching 28 – a score that’s higher than both Rogue One ($155M, 23 score) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5M, 23 score).
One thing we’ve yet to consider is the possible backlash from fans. Truth be told, a small portion of Star Wars diehards took issue with the first Solo: A Star Wars Story teasers on the belief that Alden Ehrenreich wasn’t a good enough replacement for the great Harrison Ford. In saying that, and as The Last Jedi proves ($620M Stateside; $1.3 billion worldwide), a pocket of grouchy viewers shouldn’t have much of an effect on the spinoff’s performance when it touches down on May 25th.