Well, Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t last. Technically.
As Scott Mendelson reports over at Forbes.com, Solo has managed to pull in a cumulative, domestic box office haul of $209.5 million… just nudging it out of last place for lowest-grossing, live-action film of the ten Star Wars features released domestically. Believe it or not, The Empire Strikes Back still holds that dubious honor. It brought in a total of $209.4 million in its original, theatrical release.
Take that news with a grain of salt, however. It’s not entirely accurate to say Solo doesn’t still occupy the lowest rung on the Star Wars ladder. These numbers are based on unadjusted, initial, domestic box office figures only. They do not account for inflation or other economic factors. Similarly, these figures don’t include box office revenue from theatrical re-releases of Episode V, which brings its domestic total to close to $300 million.
Solo Box Office Numbers Are Relative
It seems strange to talk about The Empire Strikes Back in terms of being last at anything Star Wars.. Especially considering the film is widely regarded to this day as the best of the entire, ten-film franchise. (That number Includes both Rogue One and Solo.) Keep in mind though: the early 80’s were times of severe economic recession. Neither household disposable income nor the breadth of theatrical film release were then what they are today.
There are certainly many factors to blame for Solo’s box office performance. It started with the controversial hiring, and subsequent firing of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as directors. Then there was a poor marketing campaign. That included the inexplicable decision to release the film Memorial Day weekend against the likes of Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2 (Disney’s own films!). Add in a dismal, overseas box office draw, and that places Solo squarely in the Star Wars box office basement.
This is all very disappointing, for sure. The film generally earned positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Be that as it may, it seems Solo has cemented its place in Star Wars box office history. I guess no one told them the odds.