While The Force Awakens was a record-setter and Rogue One and The Last Jedi topped the box office upon release, one film business expert thinks that trend has a decent chance of ending with the Han Solo spin-off.
Coming on May 23 of this year, Ron Howard’s Solo has had zero marketing. We’ve neither seen nor heard anything about the film besides some unconfirmed images that may or may not have leaked. And according to Forbes, that’s a bad sign. Comparing this campaign (or lack thereof) to the Ghostbusters reboot, along with flops Jonah Hex and Dark Shadows, box office expert Scott Mendelson thinks that Solo is the first Star Wars film that isn’t automatically assumed to land first place when the year’s earnings are calculated.
That implies Avengers: Infinity War, which opens a mere two weeks before the Star Wars spin-off, would take the crown. It’s also not to say that Solo will perform badly. In fact, damning it with faint praise, this is the first Star Wars sequel “merely expected to do ‘really well.’” Some of that has to do with competition, with Deadpool 2 sandwiching the release between superheroes, and the rest with the “claustrophobic release date, the behind-the-scenes melodrama, the divisive reaction to The Last Jedi (which may help Solo if it's nostalgia fan bait), and the utter lack of official marketing materials.”
All of this adds up to...what, exactly? Well, it means this Star Wars film is allowed to be a decent-sized hit, much like Episode II was in 2002. That film was the only Star Wars to not finish first at the box office, thanks to the likes of Spider-Man and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The latter two were loved by critics and over-performed financially (with Spider-Man jumpstarting a desire for superhero cinema), making 2002 a potentially comparable situation with this year’s Solo release.
However, there’s nothing wrong with a non-blockbuster success and some fans are likely thankful not to be bludgeoned by months of teasing trailers. And nothing seems quite as fitting as Han Solo as a “box office underdog.”