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Ron Howard blames online trolling for poor ‘Solo’ box office results

In a photo from 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' (L-R) Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.
In a photo from 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' (L-R) Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. Jonathan Olley / Lucasfilm / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

It’s now been a year since the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

While the film was met with generally positive reviews, it didn’t do well at the box office. The film brought in nearly US$393 million globally before hitting the shelves and the digital market, respectively.

In comparison, 2015’s Episode VII: The Force Awakens — Disney’s first effort in the franchise — raked in more than $2 billion during its box office run, making it second only to the original Star Wars film (now known as Episode IV: A New Hope).

During an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Ron Howard — who signed on to direct Solo last minute — attributed the box office failure of the film to a variety of different things.

Ron Howard at the press conference for Solo: A Star Wars Story at Midtown Hall. Tokyo, Japan on Nov. 11, 2018.
Ron Howard at the press conference for Solo: A Star Wars Story at Midtown Hall. Tokyo, Japan on Nov. 11, 2018. Kento Nara/Geisler-Fotopress/DPA via ZUMA Press

While he believes the “timing” of the film’s release played a big part along with casting someone new to portray the much-beloved smuggler Han Solo, Howard ultimately pointed his finger at the “aggressive trolling” of some unwelcoming Star Wars fans.

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The 65-year-old director said he believed many Star Wars fans were more excited to see critical reviews than the film itself.

“It was especially noticeable prior to the release of the movie,” Howard said. “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.”

“It sort of tells you how many people are tag-alongs who need to wait to see what people think and whether it’s essential, [or] whether it’s just ‘I love Star Wars and I want to see what’s next,'” he continued.
“Whatever millions [Solo] made worldwide, those were the core fans… but it didn’t hit that zeitgeist point for whatever reason.”
In a photo from Solo: A Star Wars Story, (L-R) Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.
In a photo from Solo: A Star Wars Story, (L-R) Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. Jonathan Olley / Lucasfilm / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Aside from the animated flop known as Star Wars: The Clone WarsSolo is the lowest grossing film of the entire Star Wars series.

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Alden Ehrenreich, the actor who portrayed the young Han Solo, was criticized massively ahead of the film’s release, with many believing he could not successfully fill in for Harrison Ford, who played the character in the original Star Wars films.

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“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,” said Howard in regards to the film.

WATCH: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ falls short of box-office expectations

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ falls short of box-office expectations
‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ falls short of box-office expectations
“The opening — which was big, not as big as the others — was probably my biggest opening, personally, [but] it was still disappointing to them. I think those are the hardcore fans,” he said.

While the Da Vinci Code director expressed disappointment in Solo‘s box office performance, he said that he was very proud of his work on the film.

“Sure, I wish it would’ve done [better], lived up to the box office and so forth,” he said. “[It’s] disappointing. [But] I feel very good about the way it turned out.

“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 added.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca