Well, who saw this coming?
It seems like less than 6 weeks ago, the sky was the limit for Disney’s Star Wars. The hype train was off the charts and everyone wanted to see the future of the franchise. Well, a few weeks later it seems like the wheels are falling of Disney’s cash cow. I’ve already gone into my feelings on The Last Jedi and I stand by my statement calling it the most divisive Star Wars film in history, you either love it or hate it. However, the box office performance of the film has a lot of people looking deeper into the franchise and wondering “Is the party already over for Star Wars?”
Audiences for The Last Jedi have turned their noses on the latest project, not only making it arguably the most hated Star Wars film ever but the box office numbers are a significant dropoff to the previous film The Force Awakens. A near 700 Million dollar shortfall between the two films in just 2 years is very concerning given the audience reactions. Not only was the domestic drop off of 70% worrying for Disney but the international box office drew some stunning results as well. The Last Jedi BOMBED in China, so bad that the country pulled the film entirely from the Chinese market just TWO weeks after its release. A massive blow to Lucasfilm after the push to put this franchise in the country.
Now I can’t pretend like the movie has flopped, it hasn’t. 1.3 Billion dollars worldwide is nothing to look down on but you have to put this in perspective. Star Wars is one of the most recognizable franchises in the world. People will literally watch a film just because it has Star Wars in the title because that’s how much it means to them. I believe however that The Last Jedi has killed the nostalgia factor for many people. The memories from the original trilogy are over and dead in more ways than one. When you look at the future of Star Wars, there isn’t much excitement for characters that Disney has established. Toys are not selling the way they use to. Outlets are overstocked with expensive Star Wars collectibles that simply no one wants. If Disney’s plan was to hook a new generation of fans to their cash cow for the next 40 years going forward, it isn’t happening.
If you think the rough patch for Star Wars is over, you may want to hold that thought because news regarding their latest project due out in May called Solo: A Star Wars Story forecast things are only going to get worse for Disney. Reports of a behind the scenes disaster with the film have gained more traction in the last few weeks to the point there are claims that Disney is expecting the film to flop…4 months BEFORE it’s release.
A source close to the film’s production claims “Disney is bracing themselves for the Han Solo movie to bomb. They were worried about it before all The Last Jedi controversy, but now they’re essentially writing Solo off. The lead actor, Alden Ehrenreich, can’t act, and they had a dialogue coach on hand for all of his scenes. On top of that, the script is unworkable. It’s going to be a car crash.” Ouch. Rumblings were bad when Phil Miller and Chris Lord were fired as the film’s directors due to creative clashes with Kathleen Kennedy but these new reports only confirm suspicions of chaos in the House of Mouse.
If Star Wars The Force Awakens was the honeymoon for the franchise and audiences alike, then 2018 may be the year divorce papers are drawn. The damage has been done, Fans are angry, the next project on tap looks to be a train wreck months before its release and if it is, what if anything will drive audiences to want to see Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019 at this rate? Star Wars is a boxer on the ropes, it isn’t done yet but a couple more punches and they won’t be able to recover.