'Solo' is already breaking records at the box office, but it's nowhere close to previous 'Star Wars' movies

Disney/LucasFilmDonald Glover as Lando Calrissian in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’
  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story” earned a record-breaking $US14.1 million at its Thursday night preview screening.
  • It’s projected to earn around $US140 million during the Memorial Day weekend, which would also be a record.
  • But that would make “Solo” the lowest-grossing opening ever for a “Star Wars” movie since Disney took over the franchise.
  • Even “Rogue One” had a better opening weekend ($US155 million).

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is starting off strong by breaking the Thursday preview box-office record going into Memorial Day. But it’s still up in the air if this latest release in the beloved franchise will perform like the previous titles since Disney took over the reins.

“Solo,” which looks at the origin story of Han Solo, took in $US14.1 million on Thursday night, according to The Wrap. That beats the previous record holder, 2007’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which took in $US13.2 million.

With the movie being released on 4,381 screens, Disney is setting the stage for a typical huge release for a “Star Wars” movie. But it’s going to be a big test for the franchise.

“Solo” comes out just five months after “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opened. So for the first time ever in the storied saga, fans could be suffering franchise fatigue. Also, the movie has received mixed reviews. It’s sporting a 70% rating going into the holiday weekend. That is low for “Star Wars” (the lowest since “Attack of the Clones”). And Memorial Day weekend is one of the few holidays when audiences don’t flock to the theatres.

Disney is certainly rolling the dice.

Though industry projections have “Solo” breaking the Memorial Day weekend box-office record (“At World’s End,” $US139.8 million), it still will be the lowest opening ever for a Disney-era “Star Wars” movie. In fact, it probably won’t earn as much as the previous “A Star Wars Story” movie, “Rogue One,” which had a $US155 million opening.

Whether you chalk it up to “Star Wars” fatigue or mistakenly releasing this movie in the summer instead of in December, which has been the home for the franchise since “The Force Awakens,” this weekend will be the first time Disney and Lucasfilm executives will feel a little uncomfortable.

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