by Ray Keating
October 6, 2018
After all of the dollars and cents are counted up, Solo: A Star Wars Story will go from box office flop to another profitable (though not highly profitable) Star Wars vehicle for the Walt Disney Company. That’s my prediction, and I’m sticking to it.
I understand that Solo failed to hit a profitable mark at the theater box office. As noted in the DisneyBizJournal.com piece I wrote in July about Solo’sperformance on screen and in the financials, the movie cost an estimated $400 million and the global box office registered only $393 million (latest number from BoxOfficeMojo.com).
But especially with a Star Wars movie, there’s more to factor in than only the box office take. Solo’s digital release came on September 14, and the DVD and Blu-ray on September 25; and a few reasons exist to expect solid sales – along with other sources of revenue.
First, the box office numbers indicate that a lot of people who would normally check out a Star Wars movie failed to show up at theaters. That should translate into a boost to video sales.
Second, that boost in video sales also rests, in part, on increased distance in terms of time from the December 2017 release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As I argued in my July Solo piece, given how bad The Last Jedi was, its fallout impacted Solo, which was released in theaters a mere five months after The Last Jedi. With time, more fans will come to recognize that Solo is a solidly entertaining Star Wars adventure.
Third, with the next Star Wars chapter not arriving until December 2019, this absence in theaters will create additional demand for viewing Solo.
Fourth, one word: merchandise. The revenue generated by a Star Wars movie goes beyond box office and video sales. Merchandise plays a big part, andSolowill add to the Star Wars merchandise empire.
Fifth and finally, two Star Warstheme parks are arriving in 2019 – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland during the summer and at Disney World in the fall. And it’s easy to see how the lead up and opening of these parks will feed back into all things Star Wars, including Solo. That’s particularly the case given the important role that the Millennium Falcon plays in Solo and will play in Galaxy’s Edge.
One of the extras that comes with the Target exclusive edition of Solo is a 13-minute video (“The Millennium Falcon: From Page to Park”) focused on the Millennium Falcon in the movies, and the new ride coming to Galaxy’s Edge. After watching that video, I challenge any Star Wars fan not to be excited about the new theme park. That buzz leading up to and after the park opens will generate further interest in Solo.
By the way, my visit to Disney World last month offered a glimpse of Galaxy’s Edge rising at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even at this point, it’s impressive. (Catch a glimpse in the following photos.)
In the end, especially when compared to how bad The Last Jedi was, Solo will grow on fans, and therefore, will move from a minus to a plus in terms of Disney’s finances.
Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with the two latest books being Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant Noveland Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story. He can be contacted at email@example.com.