A lot of fans have their theories on why Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up not performing as well as Disney would have hoped. We’ve heard things such as Star Wars fatigue, the backlash on Rian Johnson‘s The Last Jedi, and the behind-the-scenes drama on the film.
Turns out, it’s none of the above! According to veteran industry analyst Doug Creutz of the financial services firm Cowen Group, his report, that issued to investors, says that it was all due to poor marketing, and he makes some good points.
So far the film has made $264 million at the box office, which is a low figure for a Star Wars movies. In fact, it’s the lowest grossing Star Wars movie ever, and this report lays everything out on the table and explains why.
The first thing the report debunks is angry Star Wars fans who hated The Last Jedi:
“While Last Jedi received critical acclaim (91% Rotten Tomatoes rating), it received a mixed reaction from audiences, as some thought it was too much of a revisionist take on Star Wars. However, if the franchise was able to survive Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, we have a hard time believing Last Jedi could have done that much damage.”
Can’t really argue with that! It then goes on to debunk Star Wars fatigue, saying:
“With The Last Jedi having come out just five months ago, some have speculated that Solo was too soon of a follow-up. If this were the case, though, one would think Marvel would be having even bigger problems, with four Marvel-branded films having come out in the last six months (Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Deadpool 2). Clearly, that hasn’t been the case.”
That’s another good point. As far as the behind the scenes drama goes, he goes on to explain that most of the general audience members weren’t even aware of any drama:
“Some reports have focused on the changeover in directors and extensive reshoots that Solo went through. However, while widely reported in the trade press, this is still very much an ‘inside baseball’ thing that we think audiences at large were only dimly aware of.”
So, it all comes down to the lack of marketing and not effectively selling the audiences on seeing the movie. The report specifically points out that the marketing team needed to do a better job of selling Adlen Ehrenreich as the new Han Solo.
The report goes on to use Rogue One as a perfect example explaining that the teaser trailer was released “247 days before the movie’s release, starting an extensive hype campaign for the film. The first 35 seconds of the trailer almost exclusively focuses on Felicity Jones as the protagonist Jyn Erso, selling her as a new franchise hero. The second half is dominated by the Imperial alert klaxon and Forest Whitaker’s voice over, and practically screams ‘EPIC’ at the viewer, before closing on another hero shot of Jones.”
They then point out that the first trailer for Solo was released only 108 days before the movie came out and that they hardly featured Han Solo:
“Disney’s marketing department, in our opinion, had one job: sell audiences on Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo (who we thought did a creditable job in the movie with very tough shoes to fill). The teaser, by our count, only had about 10 seconds of screen time where Ehrenreich’s face was clearly in the picture – not, in our opinion, nearly enough. In general, we felt like the Solo marketing campaign didn’t get fully up to speed until about a month before the movie came out, and that is simply too short of a window for a big franchise picture.”
I’m sure Disney will never make that mistake again. With the full blame placed on the Disney and Lucasfilm marketing team, I doubt that the studios are going to make any changes to their current plans for films that they are looking to develop. The one thing they will change however is the way the films are marketed to audiences.
The report goes on to say that no one should worry about the future of the franchise.
“All in all, we expect that 2019’s Star Wars Epsiode IX will do quite well at the box office, probably exceeding Last Jedi, and that other Star Wars Story films will likely average closer to Rogue One than Solo, assuming Disney can execute on quality and marketing.”
What are your thoughts on this report blaming the bad marketing for the film’s failure?