Weekend Preview – Solo: A Star Wars Story

It’s only been since Christmas that we were debating Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and this weekend Solo: A Star Wars Story jets into theaters at light speed. Last weekend, we saw our first calendar-official summer blockbuster with Deadpool 2, which raked in over $125 million and toppled Avengers: Infinity War in the process. Deadpool 2 drew in a hefty audience, but considering its unique case of an R rating, it wouldn’t quite qualify as a traditional summer blockbuster, so if we’re playing by those rules, Solo would pass as our first mainstream bombshell of the season.

The timing for Solo’s release is unique in that it is the closest follow-up between any two Star Wars films in the franchise’s history, and it is only the second installment not part of the dominant saga. Skeptics of the stand-alone endeavor, myself included, were effectively silenced when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was widely hailed as one of the best pictures of the series. Solo, however, faces a far tougher road: recasting one of the most iconic characters in motion picture history and penning him a backstory, not to mention production issues behind the scenes.

Four months into production, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the film, citing “creative differences,” and Hollywood vet Ron Howard took over. This leaves plenty of room for concern on how the final product will turn out. At this point, Solo is scoring a solid, if underwhelming, 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Deadline projects a $135-175 million opening over the Memorial Day frame. Considering The Last Jedi was the top-performing film of last year, movie studios are unsurprisingly skittish, and there are no more wide-release movies to speak of this weekend.

Though The Last Jedi was a global box office smash, it under-performed in comparison to Star Wars’ two previous entries, and it also left fans deeply polarized, leaving plenty of variables in play for Solo, especially after only a five-month gap in release. I’m predicting Solo to hit a robust $170 million over the holiday, and I’m expecting to rate it an unexceptional 7/10. What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments below, and check back Friday for the full review.

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