I got a bad feeling about this

How do you lose money on a Star Wars movie?

In theory, Star Wars is essentially a license to print money. That's why Disney spent $6 billion on it.

And yet, "Solo," the fourth movie in the franchise since Disney ushered in a new era for the galaxy far far away, will be lucky to break even, if it does so at all.

Which is something of an unfair shake for a movie that really doesn't deserve the reception it's getting.

Personally, my initial reaction is that "Solo" ranks somewhere between four and six of my favorite Star Wars movies.

"Solo" is by no means a perfect movie. In fact, thanks to the late production firing of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, replaced by Ron Howard to finish things up, there is a somewhat disjointed feeling as the two creative visions collide.

Between "Rogue One" and "Solo," I would say that "Rogue One" is the more competently produced movie, but "Solo" is just more fun to watch, flaws and all.

The movie didn't change my world, but I still left the theater happy enough and wanting more. Which seems to be the general feeling of most of the people that saw it.

The relatively few that did.

Unfortunately, "Solo" isn't drawing the usual crowd that the Star Wars name brings in. Which isn't necessarily an indictment on the movie itself.

Box office returns are often used as a shorthand metric to gauge the quality of a movie. In the unfortunate case of "Solo" though, there are several extenuating circumstances.

The first and most obvious one being the certifiably insane decision to release the movie in May.

Star Wars has done very well as a December franchise since Disney started pumping out movies. Yet there has been a continual push to relocate the franchise back into early-summer.

Yes, all six movies of the Pre-Disney era released in May, but none of them were going up against the Avengers. I'm all for upholding traditions in movies, but this is one legacy that needs to go.

Opening two weeks after "Avengers: Infinity War" and a week after "Deadpool 2" was lunacy. I love movies, but three trips to the theater in three weeks was getting tiring even for me.

Outside of theater fatigue itself, the box office damage was compounded by franchise fatigue. "Solo" came out just five months after "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," soon enough that the baggage of its predecessor carried over.

As a general rule, to gauge the success of a franchise film, you look at the opening day receipts of its sequel.

"X-Men: The Last Stand," a movie so bad that Fox made an entirely new movie to retcon it away, is still the highest grossing X-Men movie not starring Deadpool.

Not because the movie deserved the dollars of so many theater goers, but because everybody really loved "X2: X-Men United" enough to see the sequel.

Meanwhile, "X-Men: First Class," the movie credited with course correcting the franchise after two dramatic flops, is the second worst performer in the series. Not because it was a bad movie, but because Fox had already burnt away the good will of the fanbase.

Like it or not, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," was a deeply divisive film and that division is apparent in the reaction to "Solo." Anecdotally, I know multiple regular movie goers, from hard core Star Wars fans to casual ones, that decided to give "Solo" a pass for one reason or another.

Throw in a constant stream of behind-the-scenes drama, an inflated budget thanks to a series of expensive reshoots, asking audiences to accept anybody but Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and the general frivolousness of what is admittedly an unnecessary movie and you have a perfect storm for a box-office disaster.

So where does Lucasfilm go from here?

Well, back to December for starters. Episode IX is set for December 20, 2019 and if Lucasfilm has any sense they will lock that date down for future installments.

Beyond that, Lucasfilm needs to get their house in order. Two of their five movies have had directors fired and there seems to be no real plan about where the franchise is going.

The fanbase is more divided than they've ever been, but even a divided fanbase is still a passionate one. If they're not careful, Lucasfilm is at risk of turning angry fans into apathetic ones, which is even worse.

Travis Fischer is a news writer for Mid-America Publishing and knows that sometimes you just need to let the Wookie win.