LOS ANGELES • Box-office receipts for Solo: A Star Wars Story sank 65 per cent from the film's debut weekend, setting it on course to be the first Star Wars movie to lose money.
Walt Disney's Han Solo origin story collected weekend sales of US$29.4 million (S$39.26 million) in United States and Canadian theatres, ComScore Inc said in an e-mail on Monday.
That was below the US$30 million projected by the research site Box Office Mojo and a steeper decline than other big Memorial Day releases historically.
The film, which cost an estimated US$250 million to make, could lose more than US$50 million, Mr Barton Crockett, an analyst with B. Riley FBR Inc, said in a research note on Sunday.
In his estimates, he accounted for international ticket sales, home video and TV revenue as well as merchandising revenue and the millions spent on marketing. "This marks a tough return to movie reality for a Disney that had in recent years enjoyed a can't-miss mystique," he wrote.
He projected total worldwide ticket sales for the movie in the mid-US$400 million range, while other recent Star Wars films have taken in US$1 billion or more.
So far, even adjusting for inflation domestically, Solo is the worst performing of all the Star Wars movies going back to 1977, according to Box Office Mojo.
A write-off would be a mark of severe change of fortune for Disney.
Mr Wade Holden, analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, estimated that the previous three Star Wars films generated an average net profit of US$871 million. Mr Doug Creutz, analyst at Cowen & Co, blamed poor marketing by Disney and fans' disquiet over storylines in the last episode, The Last Jedi (2017).
Some film analysts blame Star Wars fatigue.
Still, even by the standards of today's sequel-and prequel-heavy Hollywood, the franchise from Disney-owned Lucasfilm has been prolific.
Starring Alden Ehrenreich as a younger version of the swashbuckling space pilot, Solo has amassed a cumulative global total of US$264 million, pushing it into 15th place for this year.
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening.
Three new movies - Adrift, Upgrade and Action Point-placed third, sixth and ninth respectively.
STX Entertainment's Adrift, made for US$35 million, collected US$11.6 million against a forecast of US$13 million. Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin play a couple who sail from Tahiti to San Diego and hit a catastrophic hurricane. The survival tale is based on a true story and scored 67 per cent positive reviews, according to aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
R-rated Upgrade, which scored almost universal positive reviews, collected US$4.67 million, beating a forecast of US$2.8 million by Box Office Pro. The violent tale, via Blumhouse Productions' label BH Tilt, is about a billionaire inventor paralysed in a mugging, who tries an experimental cure to fix his body.
Daredevil Johnny Knoxville returns in the critically panned Action Point, via Paramount Pictures, which earned US$2.39 million - or about half the predicted US$5.5 million.
In the US$19-million production, he is the owner of an out-of-control amusement park where the rides are designed with minimum safety and maximum pain.
BLOOMBERG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE