Release date: December 15, 2017 (2D theaters and IMAX)
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Lucasfilm
Director: Rian Johnson
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriter: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga. “The Last Jedi” is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.
Solo Box Office Dwindles in the Second Weekend
A Star Wars film usually brings about a strong box office, from the groundbreaking blockbuster of the 1977 original to even the prequel films of the early 2000s. But Solo: A Star Wars Story is shaping up to be the most underwhelming of Star Wars pictures, with the exception of 2008’s animated Clone Wars movie. In its second weekend, the Star Wars side-story prequel pulled in $29.2 million, a steep drop of 65% from the previous weekend. This brings the domestic total up to $148 million, considerably low for a Star Wars movie, especially when the last Star Wars Story entry made $286 million in this amount of time.
Solo’s low box office could also be attributed to the butting up of other blockbusters. Deadpool 2, Marvel’s silly anti-hero in its third weekend, brought in $23 million to bring its domestic total to $254 million. Marvel’s other superhero juggernaut, Avengers: Infinity War, made $10 million to boost its beefy domestic total to $642 million. Despite strong openings from these two films, it’s looking as though their box office takes are going to be hindered by the coming weeks of more chart-stealing summer movies.
The new movies for the weekend blanketed the box office chart in various positions. Adrift, the survival drama starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin came in at #3 with a weekend total of $11.5 million. Upgrade, the bloody sci-fi horror from Blumhouse, arrived at #6 with $4.4 million. And all the way down at #9 is Action Point, the slapstick comedy starring Johnny Knoxville, making only $2.3 million in its debut.
Full box office results are listed below.
- Solo: A Star Wars Movie ($29,296,000)
- Deadpool 2 ($23,325,000)
- Adrift ($11,510,000)
- Avengers: Infinity War ($10,371,000)
- Book Club ($6,800,000)
- Upgrade ($4,458,000)
- Life of the Party ($3,455,000)
- Breaking In ($2,815,000)
- Action Point ($2,315,000)
- Overboard ($1,975,000)
Next weekend will feature another plentiful crop of films vying for the top slot. Ocean’s 8, the all-female remake of the classic heist film, will smash into 4000 theaters. Hotel Artemis, an all-star cast of a futuristic action picture, will sneak into 2000 theaters. And A24’s sleeper horror hit Hereditary will also be targeting many theaters.
Review: Pleasing Heists and Nagging Winks in “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
Solo is a prequel that teeters between pointless backstory and rousing world exploration. By its very conception, it is an unneeded movie, tracing origins I didn’t need to see of Han Solo acquiring his blaster, ship, and Wookie. But when the story can pull itself away from its tiring foreshadowing of the Star Wars trilogy, the film nears its more engaging aspect of the swashbuckling nature a Han Solo movie should be.
Alden Ehrenreich plays the young Han Solo with a certain swagger that doesn’t seem quite there yet. In many ways, this works for the benefit of an origin story by not starting off the outlaw as such. His story begins as that of a slave who escapes a nasty overlord, smuggling his way off a manufacturing planet with his thieving and piloting skills. But he needs to go back for his love Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), giving him more of a purpose besides scoring the biggest take. This aspect sends Han down many paths, from working for the Empire in the battlefields, to snatching loot from gravity-shifting train cars, to staging a rebellion on a mining planet.
As with any prequel, there’s a problem with care for the characters when we know more or less what will happen to them. We know the dashing romance between Han and Q’ira won’t go anywhere and that Han’s new acquaintance of the gambler Lando (Donald Glover) will make it out of this film alive. Han’s questionable ally of Becket (Woody Harrelson) and his bitter crime boss Vos (Paul Bettany) probably don’t have a chance of surviving this ordeal. While I’d like to set the original Star Wars trilogy aside to enjoy Han’s heist film, I can’t help bringing it up when there are so many knowing nudges and winks to forming the character. As if we really needed to see where Han first picked up his iconic blastr or hear a variation on the line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
When the film does decide to put down the callbacks, however, it does start to become the fast and adventurous caper that can exist on its own. There’s real zip to scenes of high-speed chases through snowy mountains and dangerous maelstroms. There’s a multitude of romances and twists that always keeps the blood pumping, even if it feels more like gas churning through an engine, seeming more exciting by design than delivery. And per the Star Wars design is lots of color in the settings with creative alien designs. It just wouldn’t be a gangster bar in the Star Wars universe if there wasn’t a singer in strange attire singing next to a crooning blob in a jar.
The cast is sufficient enough, particularly Donald Glover embodying a smirking scoundrel and Paul Bettany as a sinister force, even if his facial makeup makes him look as though a cat scratched him. Alden Ehrenreich does a decent job at trying to match the cocky nature and boastful posture of a Han Solo in the making, but there’s not much time for him to fit into the role. The film is in such a rush to zoom towards a robot rebellion or a fighting an octopus near a black hole that the charisma never simmers enough to the point where Ehrenreich makes the character his own. The most unique character, despite being overtly bold in its message, is the droid of L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), a supposed female droid that is more infatuated with droid rights than piloting for Lando. She has a romantic attraction to Lando which opens up a whole new can of worms for the Star Wars universe.
Much like the Millenium Falcon, which appears in the film as a less dirty spaceship before Han got his hands on the controls, this is a film that stops and starts, making me want to kick the projector every few minutes. When slowing down for its underwhelming conversations of how Han met Chewy, the film stalls in easy and unnecessary nostalgia. Just before it grows tedious with references, the action kicks back in and there’s a glee to Han’s adventure of thieving, blasting, and deceiving. And I really wished the film kept up its own pep of being its own thing so the fate of Solo doesn’t loom over the picture with a depressing realization that it’s not going to end well for him. It’s such a rusty movie that struggles to be fun and daring you can almost hear director Ron Howard muttering that old Han Solo line “Here me baby, hold together.” Solo does hold together, but crashes towards the finish line in such a broken and battered state you wonder how it even took off.
Disney to Create Separate Streaming Service for Marvel & Star Wars?
[dropcap]U[/dropcap]PDATE: Earlier this week, Disney revealed that they’d be removing their content from Netflix. However, there’s more to the story. Apparently, they are thinking keeping their own content split up, with separate streaming services for Marvel and Star Wars content.
According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, there isn’t a ton of overlap between Disney fans and that other content. For example, kids watching Toy Story and Frozen probably won’t be hunting down Captain America: Civil War.
Still, more streaming services means more subscriptions to pay for. Here’s hoping they keep things as consolidated as possible.
Disney has established itself as one of the biggest cultural institutions around. However, their decision to say sayonara to Netflix sounds like one of Disney’s less wise decisions.
There are a lot of television streaming services out there right now, including Amazon Prime and HBO Go. But if viewers had to choose just one to subscribe to, it would be Netflix. Not only does it have the best content, it also has the best user interface, which makes it easy to use and find new shows.
Disney has struck deals with Netflix to allow the service to carry their programs, including the Marvel films and Lucasfilm titles. But now Disney is saying “just kidding” and removing all their content.
Disney chief Bob Iger announced the big news on an investors call. All Disney titles, which includes everything from Star Wars to Pixar films, will be taken down by 2019. Why? Because Disney wants to make their own streaming service. Yep, yet another thing you’ll have to add to your subscription list.
But that begs the question–will people subscribe? Are Disney movies alone worth a subscription fee? Possibly for some people, but more and more people are getting frustrated with the divisions going on with streaming.
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