Solo: A Star Wars Story officially arrives in theaters today and is expected to perform well over Memorial Day weekend but not quite as well as Disney executives would prefer. Likewise, the Thursday night preview box-office results are in, and they indicate the same sentiment. Solo grossed $14.1 million from the most eager Star Wars fans, which glides by the $13.1 million Thursday night record (specific to Memorial Day weekend) previously captured by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End in 2007.
It must be noted that Solo hasn’t bested the overall Thursday night preview record that is still held by Thor: Ragnarok, which brought in $14.5 million during previews in November 2017. In other words, Solo is currently comparable to the Millennium Falcon in its battered state near the end of the film’s heist — it’s not looking stellar, but it’s getting the job done. Whether or not Solo can surpass the Pirates full Memorial Day weekend record ($139.8 million) remains to be seen, but this film will also test other Hollywood waters:
“Solo” will test whether there’s significant franchise fatigue among moviegoers as it’s opening a mere five months after Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” debuted to $220 million in North America, and went on to earn $620 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide.
The resulting numbers should indeed prove useful, for while die-hard fans were sitting in theaters on Thursday night, a Boba Fett standalone film was announced, and there might be a Lando Calrissian spinoff in the future as well. Yes, Hollywood needs its franchises, but will fans indefinitely hold the candle?