REASONS FOR WHY SOLO FLOPPED AT THE BOX OFFICE:
1) It was released at the wrong time.
2) People didn't like The Last Jedi as much as the critics, and hence, they were apathetic.
3) There's viewer fatigue.
4) People didn't want to see another actor take on the iconic role of Han Solo.
And now here's my reason: Ron Howard isn't good at making epic movies that are light on character and big on hair-raising, mouth-dropping moments. Star Wars is supposed to be epic in scope. It's supposed to dazzle and give moments of awe. In Rogue One, there was a moment of awe when the Death Star fired its weapon on a city and the land wave that followed had me awe-struck. Plus it was filmed in such a way as to eclipse a sun.
Ron Howard doesn't do "awe." He does character films, which admittedly Solo is one of these. His strengths are cerebral...getting into the head of characters like in A Beautiful Mind or in Cocoon, which is a slow-burning film that shows old people becoming young again. But Star Wars isn't about character...people don't go to these movies to get into the head of Han Solo. They don't go to the movie to obtain all the feels from Princess Leia's suffering over two hours. People go to a Star Wars movie to experience awe, and Ron Howard was the wrong person to realize this for the franchise.
The moment in the film that had the most "awe" packed into it was probably when the train exploded. And it took out the top of a mountain and was mostly in an uninhabited place so nobody cared. The second moment was when a space monster got sucked into a black hole. But nobody cared at that point either because you know Han Solo survives because he's in later movies. It was just a throwaway monster to use to make the escape from the Kessel Mines kind of interesting.
However, when I think about how Ron Howard put together Solo, I also don't think it's his fault either. It's clear that Disney doesn't understand what makes Star Wars, and that they've gotten lucky thus far by hiring directors who obviously do. With Solo, Ron Howard was probably someone who was enthusiastic to do it even after production hell erupted over directors that were supposed to come in and make the film. Add to this the fact that he had a limited timeline, the budget blew out of control, and there were all kinds of problems that he needed to deal with to get it to the cinema on time. So yeah...it's Ron's fault while simultaneously NOT being his fault.
Unfortunately, because SOLO did poorly, all the other Star Wars stories in the works have now been put on hold. That kinda sucks. At least we have an endless future of Jurassic Park stories to whet our appetites, even if the backbone of that franchise is just humans running and screaming. However, (and just to be fair) Jurassic World did give us running in high heels, so that was new.
A NOTE ON BLOGGING COMMENTS:
Helena Soister alerted me via personal email that none of her comments were being published, and I didn't know this (thank you Helena). I apologize if any of you have been thinking that I ghosted you or something like that. This isn't the case, and you should be able to comment on the blog now going back five days before the "held for moderation" thing happens on older blog posts.
I'm not sure what has changed with Blogger, but I no longer get email notifications that someone has left a comment on my blog. That was a nice feature that Google is either working on or is currently broken until it gets fixed for Blogger. I imagine it's a rather low priority for them.
Helena: I did respond to your email :)
Kevin Long: I sent you an email yesterday (I've actually sent a couple). If you read this, could you check your spam and see if you've received any and get back to me.
Patrick: What ARC of Alan Dean Foster's do you have? You mentioned it the other day.
Other than that, have a nice weekend. I'm reading my first Tad Williams books, and they are pretty good so far. I guess you'll hear more about them in the future. Right now, I'm seeing a strong influence on George R.R. Martin that I never knew about. Go figure, and more on this later.