Ron Howard says trolls are to blame for the Solo: A Star Wars Story box office failure, but there was more to it than that.
Ron Howard is still blaming internet trolls for the lukewarm response to Solo: A Star Wars Story — but other factors had more to do with the movie’s struggles.
Solo, released in May 2018, raked in $213 million at the domestic box office (by comparison, the standalone Rogue One made $532 million).
More from Star Wars Directors
- Godzilla Minus One director Takashi Yamazaki wants to helm a Star Wars movie
- Director Shawn Levy shares details about his upcoming Star Wars film
- How Ahsoka could set up Dave Filoni’s Star Wars film
- Christopher Nolan coy about the possibility of directing a Star Wars film
- Let Taika Waititi write his Star Wars movie in peace
Howard, recently appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, admitted the movie “just didn’t live up to the expectations.”
"“I love the way it played to audiences, which I witnessed and was a part of. So all of that I’m able to feel good about,” he said. “Sure, I wish it would’ve done … and lived up to the box office and so forth, so that’s disappointing. Why? Maybe it’s the release. Maybe it’s the idea that it’s sort of too nostalgic, going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for.”"
Howard suggested that “tagalong” Star Wars fans didn’t feel as much of a need to turn out for the movie. He then went on to highlight some of the issues the movie faced.
"“So whatever millions it made worldwide, those were the core fans, but it didn’t hit that zeitgeist point, for whatever reason. Timing, young Han Solo … pushback from the previous movie, which I kept hearing was maybe something. And some trolling, definitely some trolling. Some actual aggressive… It was pretty interesting … Not so much, a little bit the Twitter feed, yes, but it was especially noticeable prior to the release of the movie. Several of the algorithms, whether it was Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, there was an inordinate push down on the ‘want to see’ and on the fan voting. And when you look at it, it’s like 3, 4, 5 — or whatever the rating is, I forget what the rating is on Rotten Tomatoes, whether it’s a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 — but pretty high, and then a series of 0s or .5s or 1s.”"
Howard is inherently correct about “review bombing” efforts, a trend seen in movies like Captain Marvel and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But bad reviews didn’t stop those movies from cleaning up at the box office — both ended up crossing $1 billion internationally.
Instead of blaming trolls, here are some more plausible reasons why Solo struggled:
- Behind-the-scenes drama: Howard wasn’t the first director attached to the movie — he replaced Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creative force behind The Lego Movie, with weeks left of shooting. The switch at the helm cast a shadow over the project and fueled concern that Solo wouldn’t live up to the standards of other Star Wars movies.
- Star Wars overload: Solo was released only five months after The Last Jedi. With such a short window, audiences didn’t have a chance to properly anticipate Solo.
- Critics didn’t love it, either: The movie received a 70% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is solid for any random movie but disappointing for Star Wars films. In fact, only Episode II: Attack of the Clones (65%) and Episode I: The Phantom Menace (54%) scored lower. When critics are rating a Star Wars movie in prequel territory, it isn’t a great sign.
The movie was a fun watch, but it still had pacing issues and felt uneven at times. There were several contributing factors to Solo’s box office failure.
Watch Solo: A Star Wars Story currently streaming on Netflix.