Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) studio business has suffered a big disappointment over the past two weekends. The new Star Wars film, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” produced in tandem with Lucasfilm, has underperformed woefully at the box office. However, Disney still holds a nearly unprecedented 34% of studio revenue so far this year.
“Solo” posted ticket sales of $29 million in the most recent weekend, down 65% from the one before. Since it was released, it has posted sales of $150 million, which makes it a failure in a Star Wars franchise in which a single installment can bring in many times that. According to Box Office Mojo, the average haul of the 11 Star Wars movies has been $377 million. The franchise has grossed $4.2 billion, the second most successful of all time behind the Marvel movies series.
In the studio race measured from the start of the year through May 27, Disney’s piece is 34.0%, or $1.6 billion. 20th Century Fox is well behind with a share of 12.9%, followed by Warner Bros. at 11.1%. Of the major studios, three have performed very poorly this year. Sony/Columbia has a share of 8.4%, about the same as Universal. Paramount’s share is 6.2% for the period. Since 2000, the top studio usually has a market share of 15% to 20% in any year.
Disney will release several more films this year that could be blockbusters, including “Toy Story 4,” “The Incredibles 2” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Each is expected to gross well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Disney studio business is essential to the success of its parent. It has to carry mediocre results from cable property ESPN, ABC and Disney theme parks. So far, the Disney studio’s shoulders have been broad.