Disney and Lucasfilm's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," a prequel film about the origins of Han Solo, made an estimated $101 million domestically for its four-day weekend opening which includes the Monday holiday, according to Disney. That makes "Solo" the smallest opening for a "Star Wars" film since 2002.
The number, while being the biggest Memorial Day Weekend debut in the last four years, is also solidly under industry expectations. Initial projections on Tuesday had the film bringing in $130 million to $150 million in North America. Those projections were adjusted down on Friday to $105 million to $115 million.
"The numbers are certainly disappointing," said Solo director Ron Howard.
With three minutes left in our scheduled 4-minute interview, and having not myself seen Solo because I imagine it's just 90-minutes of some guy that doesn't look like Harrison Ford smirking at the screen while referencing throw-away lines from Empire, I asked Mr. Howard his thoughts on a recent Harvard study that placed the number of deaths in Puerto Rico from last year's Hurricane Maria at nearly 5,000, a figure much higher than expected.
The legendary actor and director said that the news out of Puerto Rico was "equally, no…probably more," disappointing than finding out about Solo's opening.
"You know, it's always an emotional blow when the numbers come in and they are different than what you were expecting," said Mr. Howard. "That's true, I suppose, whether it's not living up to box office expectations or finding out that the world has failed a nation suffering through a humanitarian crisis."
When asked how to best cope with the type of disappointment one feels when learning that his movie only made $100M domestically ($150M worldwide) in its opening weekend or that most of Puerto Rico is still without power, Mr. Howard offered some sage and practical advice:
"I always found that the trick is to acknowledge the situation, understand that maybe there was more that you could have done, but not to dwell too much on past mistakes. You got to move on do everything in your mother fucking power to save what's left of the situation," said Mr. Howard, a lesson he says that he learned in the wake of The Da Vinci Code: Inferno's disappointing opening.
"Even in the bleakest of situation, there is still a lot left to do," said a solemn Mr. Howard. "Oh, by the way can you mention that the 5th season of Arrested Development debuts on Netflix this week? I couldn't take another disappointment."
To help the ongoing tragedy in Puerto Rico, consider donating to one of these charities.