Over the Memorial Day weekend, Lucasfilm’s latest feature, Solo: A Star Wars Story, debuted to disappointing box-office returns. It was the weekend’s top-grossing movie, but the $103 million domestic take was well below Disney’s expectations, set by the openings for recent series installments Rogue One ($155 million) and The Last Jedi ($220 million). The armchair-quarterbacking started immediately, with trade publications musing over whether Disney overpacked the film-release calendar by piling Star Wars movies atop Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and whether turning Star Wars into a twice-yearly cinematic outing meant the series was no longer appointment viewing. Above all, pundits are wondering whether Disney and Lucasfilm will pull back on their plan to make more Star Wars “anthology” films, a series of standalones outside the direct continuity that George Lucas originally laid out when he revealed that 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope was intended as the fourth chapter in a nine-film story. So far, those anthology films consist of Rogue One and Solo, with films centered around Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi both in development. While Solo unquestionably leaves room for sequels, the film’s box-office take suggests the market for them could be shaky. Either way, there are a lot more Star Wars projects in the works, including a trilogy of films by Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson, a new live-action show set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and a new animated show set just before The Force Awakens. It’d be surprising if Solo’s performance changed… [Read full story]
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