6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'Solo' Headed for Lowest Opening of Disney 'Star Wars' Movies
If all goes well, a young Han Solo and his band of outcasts will take out Captain Jack Sparrow and set a new Memorial Day weekend record at the box office.
Disney and Lucasfilm's spinoff Solo: A Star Wars Story is tracking to open to $130 million to $150 million over the long holiday weekend, with $130 million being on the low end of expectations. To date, the Memorial Day weekend record-holder for the top domestic launch is 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with $139.8 million, not adjusted for inflation.
Solo is opening in most points around the globe timed to its U.S. launch, including China, for a projected worldwide start of $300 million-plus.
The tentpole is the first of the four titles in the revitalized Star Wars franchise to brave the summer box office. It also opens a mere five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit theaters. Last Jedi, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Force Awakens all opened a year apart, and each in December.
Unless it comes in ahead of projections, the Han Solo origin story will post the lowest domestic opening of the four films and come in behind fellow stand-alone pic Rogue One, which debuted to $155.1 million in December 2016. Force Awakens, which continued the main franchise after a long absence, debuted to a then-record $248 million in 2015, followed by $220 million for Last Jedi, a follow-up to Force Awakens.
Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich in the titular role opposite Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo and Paul Bettany. The story follows Han Solo as he teams with a band of misfits and mercenaries — as well as a young Chewbacca — to stop the villainous Dryden Vos.
Ron Howard stepped in to helm much of Solo after co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired over creative differences with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Solo screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan.
No other film will dare open nationwide opposite Solo. The movie's biggest competition will be Fox's Deadpool 2, which opened last weekend to $125 million domestically and $301 million globally. The Deadpool sequel hopes to clear $55 million in its sophomore outing in North America.