“Solo” Failure Partly Due To Aggressive Trolling?

Disney and Lucasfilm have completely changed their plans for the “Star Wars” franchise’s future following the box-office disappointment of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last year.

The product of major issues and cost overruns behind the scenes, the film made $392 million at the global box-office. Ron Howard, who replaced original helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, spoke with Happy Sad Confused podcast recently and shared his thoughts on why he thinks “Solo” crashed and burned.

He says in part it was due to a Memorial Day release that didn’t help the film succeed, and that nostalgia may have hindered it a bit too much:

“Maybe it’s the idea that it’s too nostalgic. That going back and revisiting an origin story for a beloved character may not be what the fans were looking for. It seemed to me looking at the opening, big but not as big as the others, I think that was [only] the hardcore fans. [The drop-off] tells you how many people are tagalongs who need to wait to see what people think or if it’s essential, if it’s a zeitgeist movie or not. It didn’t hit the zeitgeist, for whatever reason.”

One other key reason though he says is due to some aggressive trolling targeting the film, though not the usual social media campaign types:

“Not so much the Twitter feed, but it was notable prior to the release of the movie in 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. Some friends from Silicon Valley explained to me how it works. Under that circumstance, I did not take it personally at all but I felt badly.”

Sites like Rotten Tomatoes in recent weeks have installed new systems designed to prevent campaigned trolling by bots, individuals and groups following numerous films being subjected to pre-release voting smear campaigns.

“Star Wars” returns in full force this Fall with the release of a new TV series, major video game and the film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”.