May 26, 2018

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Solo” Lonesome, “Deadpool 2″” Down Heavily To Kick Off Memorial Day Weekend


This may be a good time to pause the stories about Disney’s infalliability, and the unstoppable dominance of the Star Wars franchise.  SOLO (Lucasfilm/Disney) is underperforming in a big way, with preliminary numbers at Deadline putting its opening day at $36.5M, extremely frontloaded with $14.1M of that total from Thursday night.  That’s the lowest first day for any of the Disney Star Wars movies by far (Rogue One had been the lowest, and it nearly doubled Solo at $71.1M), and it’s not even great among Memorial Day openings of lesser franchises (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End had $42.9M back in the days before “Friday” box office included Thursday night, and more recently, Fast & Furious 6 was at $38.7M). Solo is just slightly higher than X-Men: Days of Future Past, which began its Memorial Day weekend with $35.5M ($8.1M from Thursday night), and ended up with $90.8M through Sunday, $110.6M through Monday, and a US total of $233.9M.  Even if Solo can leg it out to $300M in the US, that would be lower than any of the disdained prequels from 15-20 years ago–and that’s not adjusting for inflation.  Worse yet, the very public change in directors late in production meant that Disney essentially had to make Solo twice, at a reported cumulative production cost of $300M ($450M with worldwide marketing), which means that it could actually lose money unless international proves to be stronger than early numbers have been indicating.  Solo appears to be an example of the poisonous combination of bad early buzz, unenthusiastic reviews and franchise fatigue exacerbated by the studio’s decision to treat Star Wars like the Marvel universe and launch Solo just 5 months after The Last Jedi, with the opposite result to Infinity War premiering on the heels of Black Panther.

DEADPOOL 2 (20th) isn’t benefiting from Solo‘s stumble.  Its 2nd Friday was down 78% from last week to $11.6M, steeper than the 66% Friday-to-Friday drop for the first Deadpool.  The sequel will benefit from the holiday weekend, and it could reach $43M by Sunday and $55M with Monday, but its US total is looking like $300M or so, down almost 20% from its predecessor.

Back in the land of Marvel, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (Marvel/Disney) dropped 46% on its 4th Friday to $3.9M, for $16M through Sunday and $20M with Monday, still on track for $660M in the US.

BOOK CLUB (Endeavor Content/Paramount) held moderately well for an older-skewing title, down 45% from last Friday to $2.6M, for $10M by Sunday and $12M with Monday, seemingly capable of getting past $50M in the US.

LIFE OF THE PARTY (New Line/Warners) faded by 41% on its 3rd Friday to $1.3M, on its way to $5M by Sunday, $6M with Monday and perhaps $50M in the US.

The less-expensive BREAKING IN (Universal) is on a similar trajectory, down 47% to $1.1M on its 3rd Friday for a $4M 3-day weekend and $5M with Monday, headed for $45M in the US.

SHOW DOGS (Global Road) had to re-edit some scenes due to protests that some comic bits were unseemly for a family film, and it fell 44% from last Friday to $800K, bound for $3M by Sunday, $4M with Monday and a US total that probably won’t reach $20M.

The documentary RBG (Magnolia) continued to thrive, down a tiny 21% on its 4th Friday to $250K in only 415 theatres, with a $1M 3-day weekend ahead and $1.2M with Monday, as it continued to push toward a potential $10M US total.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."