Ron Howard has said that online trolls were partly to blame for the lacklustre box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker, who is currently promoting upcoming documentary Pavarotti, told the Happy Sad Confused podcast that “aggressive trolling” was a crucial factor in the film’s financial under-performance but that he still greatly enjoyed the creative experience of making the film.
“I wish it could have lived up to the box office expectations,” Howard said. “That’s disappointing. Why didn’t it? Maybe that’s the release [date], maybe it was too nostalgic, maybe pushback from the previous movie…some trolling, definitely. It was especially noticeable in several algorithms such as Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. There was an inordinate push down on the ‘Want to see’ [score on Rotten Tomatoes] and on the fan voting. There was a series of 0s and 1s on there…I didn’t take it personally.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story mustered $393M at the global box office off an estimated $275M budget. Released last May, the film arrived only six months after The Last Jedi. Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker, due for a December release this year, will be the fifth Star Wars universe film released since 2015. Meanwhile, web series The Mandalorian is set for a November release. Previous Star Wars spinoff Rogue One took more than $1BN in 2016.
Rotten Tomatoes has subsequently adjusted its audience participation parameters after a torrent of negative comments for Captain Marvel, prior to the film’s release.
During the audio interview, Howard also discussed the growing power of TV and questioned whether some of his previous movies – including multi-Oscar winner A Beautiful Mind — would have been made for the big screen today. Howard said he now watches more TV series than films.
Among the projects in early stages at his Imagine Entertainment is a series version of his fantasy feature Willow, which is being discussed for Disney’s upcoming VOD platform Disney +. Howard confirmed that the series is being imagined as a “continuation not a reboot”, that he hopes to direct some of the series and that he hopes Willow star Warwick Davis will return for it. Jon Kasdan, co-writer on Solo: A Star Wars Story, is another driving force behind the project’s script. “Jon has an inspired take on it,” Howard said. “There are some really serious discussions going on about it.”
The filmmaker also disclosed that he is developing an animated musical movie and is in development on several musical adaptations of films he has previously directed for Imagine.
Next up for Howard is Netflix movie Hillbilly Elegy, which will star Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Haley Bennett and Gabriel Basso.
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