With occasional exceptions for an Avatar or a Lord of the Rings, December has not traditionally been a boom time for blockbusters. More often, summer is when the big-budget spectacles come out in full force. But you may have noticed that the past two winters have been absolutely dominated by Star Wars — and we have every reason to believe Episode VIII will repeat the trick in 2017.
No surprise then, that a new rumor claims Disney is thinking of sticking with that Christmas corridor, instead of shifting to summer with 2018’s Han Solo spinoff as originally planned. More about the Han Solo release date rumor below.
As of right now, Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s untitled Han Solo movie is still on the calendar for May 25, 2018. However, Making Star Wars has heard from inside sources that Disney is now eyeing a December 13, 2018 release date for the film.
Until Disney makes an official announcement, it’s worth taking this report with a grain of salt. However, a change to the Han Solo release date would make sense. For starters, although Making Star Wars’ report was published only yesterday, Lucasfilm quietly stopped listing the May 2018 release date in their press releases some time ago. The official statements announcing Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke as part of the cast (joining Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo) simply state that the movie will be released in 2018.
There’s also the fact that The Force Awakens and Rogue One have definitively proved Star Wars movies could do massive business in December. The Force Awakens had the biggest December opening of all time last winter, nearly tripling that of the previous record holder, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It went on to rake in over $2 billion over the course of its run, putting it just behind Avatar and Titanic as the highest-grossing movies of all time. Meanwhile, this winter’s Rogue One was the second biggest December opening of all time, and should easily cross the $1 billion mark in the coming days.
And December could be a less competitive month than May or June. While it’s likely a Star Wars movie will make money no matter when it opens, Han Solo’s May release date puts it just three weeks behind Disney’s own Avengers: Infinity War, and three weeks ahead of the studio’s The Incredibles 2, which means all those films could start eating into each other’s box office numbers. December 2018 does have a few stiff competitors, chief among which is Avatar 2 — but that’s assuming James Cameron finally hits his deadline, which looks less and less likely as the weeks pass by. Disney currently has Mary Poppins Returns lined up for Christmas Day 2018, but the studio could easily move that around to make room for Han Solo if needed.
Personally, I’ve liked the annual tradition of having Star Wars movies open in December. It feels like one last treat to look forward to as the year wraps up, and Star Wars movies tend to make good outings for the whole family — everyone from your 80-year-old grandma to your five-year-old nephew is likely to be familiar with the franchise. It also makes Christmas shopping really, really easy thanks to the surfeit of tie-in merchandise, at least if your loved ones like Star Wars. I’d be a bit disappointed to have to wait a few extra months to see Lord and Miller’s Han Solo spinoff, but with Avengers: Infinity War and The Incredibles 2 coming out that summer, I should have plenty to keep me busy anyway.
Do you prefer your Star Wars movies to open in winter, or would you like to see the Han Solo film stick to its summer 2018 release date?