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Poor marketing sunk Solo, says media analyst

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Jun 4, 2018, 8:05 PM EDT

As the post-mortem continues on what caused Solo: A Star Wars Story to likely become the first major flop in the franchise's 10-film history, a high-level media analyst says he has the answer for the movie's poor showing.

With a second weekend plunge in North American box office receipts to just $29 million and a worldwide total of only $264 million so far, Solo is a shocking and rare box office disappointment for the Star Wars franchise, Lucasfilm, and their parent company, Disney.

But while many reasons have been tossed around for the less-than-stellar showing, ranging from spillover hate for The Last Jedi to the absence of Harrison Ford in one of his two most iconic roles, a veteran financial analyst named Doug Creutz -- who specializes in entertainment, media, and tech -- has pinned Solo's crash landing on one thing: poor marketing.

According to Deadline, Creutz has just issued a report to clients at the firm he works for, Cowen Investment Management, in which he analyzes the financial position of Disney as a whole and provides a positive "market perform" message about the company going forward.

But his report also pushes back against the many theories about Solo's misfire, as when he coolly dismisses the idea that The Last Jedi left too much of a bad taste in many fans' mouths: "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."

He adds that Solo will probably top out at $200 million domestically, but that its weak international tally will leave it in the red. Nevertheless, Creutz writes that despite concerns about franchise fatigue, "We think this is probably not the case, and that Solo’s biggest problem was an uncharacteristically (for Disney) poor marketing campaign.”

Chief among the marketing problems, Creutz suggests, was Disney's failure to persuade audiences that Alden Ehrenreich could step into Harrison Ford's shoes, noting that the first trailer for previous Star Wars spinoff Rogue One came out 247 days before the movie opened and prominently featured lead actress Felicity Jones.

By contrast, the first Solo teaser arrived just 108 days before the movie's premiere and contained approximately 10 clear seconds of Ehrenreich's face, not "nearly enough” for Creutz.

It seems evident that the late marketing push was a result of the movie's production problems, which saw director Ron Howard take over and reshoot as much as 70% of the movie after Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired. Creutz notes this in his report as well, adding that three out of the four new Star Wars movies released by Disney so far have had to deal with production struggles.

After musing why this is the case when another major Disney franchise, Marvel Studios, has been an "incredibly well-oiled machine," Creutz suggests that Star Wars animation executive Dave Filoni -- who has successfully launched Rebels and Clone Wars on TV -- be given a more significant role in the live-action space.

As we pointed out earlier, Creutz is optimistic overall about Disney and Star Wars, and even predicts that 2019's Episode IX will surpass The Last Jedi's $1.3 billion box office take

Do you think it was an unusually poor marketing campaign, combined with the chaotic production, that kept Solo from taking flight? Or do you feel that the problems run deeper than even a financial analysis report can discern?