Monday, August 15, 2016

Han Solo Shoots First and Hits

The Comics Chronicles released the June 2016 estimated sales last month.  Despite very strong sales from DC's rebirth titles and the start of Marvel's Civil War II crossover event, sales for the Star Wars titles held up very well.  The only casualties of the strong superhero sales are the Star Wars titles' positions on the top 300 chart.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Han Solo14152,596N/AN/A
Star Wars201496,04795,156+0.94%
The Force Awakens12079,626N/AN/A
Darth Vader212179,06586,641-8.74%
Darth Vader222377,61079,065-1.84%
Poe Dameron34360,88968,962-11.71%

June was a very good month, thanks to the new Han Solo title, with overall Star Wars sales of over half a million units.  The main Star Wars title saw a negligible increase in units sold.  The bump Darth Vader saw last month with issue #20 has disappeared with less than 800 units separating the initial sales for Darth Vader #22 from Darth Vader #19.  Both Star Wars and Darth Vader have fallen out of the top 10 comics for June.

The other ongoing title, Poe Dameron, had a less severe drop from last month, only losing 11.71% of unit sales.  Poe Dameron #3 sold approximately 4,500 more units than Kanan #3.  Kanan continued to see decent drops until the fifth issue.  If Poe Dameron can find a sales floor above 50,000 units, this title will be a success for Marvel.  We should know in the next couple of months.

As expected, Han Solo #1 was the top selling Star Wars title in June.  The Princess Leia, Lando, and Shattered Empire mini-series debuted with stronger numbers, but the Chewbacca and Obi-Wan & Anakin mini-series had weaker numbers.  Overall, Marvel has to be happy that Han Solo has bucked the trend of each subsequent mini-series selling less than the previous mini-series.  This title has received praise as the best art on a Star Wars title yet; in fact, George Lucas has reportedly purchased the original art for this mini-series.  It will be interesting to see if these good positive reviews helps this title maintain sales.

The Force Awakens #1 movie adaptation moved just over half the number of units of Han Solo #1.  It is well known that movie adaptations do not typically have strong sales.  Initial sales for the previous three Star Wars movie adaptations were:

TitleIssueDateEstimated Sales
The Phantom Menace1May 199988,437
Attack of the Clones1April 200240,211
Revenge of the Sith1March 200528,291

The Force Awakens initial issue sold much better than the first issue of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but less than The Phantom Menace.  Several factors differentiate this adaptation from the previous adaptations however.  Dark Horse published the previous mini-series a month or two earlier than the movie's release date and a trade paperback was released the same week as the first issue.  Additionally, Dark Horse didn't wait a month between publishing issues, they were scheduled to be released weekly.  Because of the tight scheduling, the units sold for the Dark Horse mini-series were very similar throughout the mini-series and Marvel seeing similar unit sales for The Force Awakens mini-series is questionable.  Marvel also published far more variant covers to achieve the sales for The Force Awakens, where Dark Horse had two covers for the first two prequel adaptations and only one cover for the Revenge of the Sith.

The following table shows the total number of Star Wars units sold per month since January 2015 along with the average number of sales per issue.  Note this chart does not include reprints.

Month/YearTotal Estimated Sales# IssuesAverage Sale per Issue
January 2015985,9761985,976
February 2015526,4513175,484
March 2015596,2994149,075
April 2015537,8124134,453
May 2015324,8353108,278
June 2015396,931499,232
July 2015597,0235119,404
August 2015430,241586,048
September 2015551,8805110,376
October 2015953,2891095,329
November 20151,003,9548125,494
December 2015507,545684,591
January 2016465,698593,139
February 2016288,355472,088
March 2016355,554571,110
April 2016533,9765106,795
May 2016299,189474,797
June 2016545,833690,972

The average sale per issue would rank 17th on the top 300 chart for the month of June.  Star Wars trade paperbacks are selling well and reorders remain strong but are not accounted for with these numbers.

Take a look at the Star Wars Sales Estimate Chart and please read the blog posting Civil War II #1 sells 381k copies, Batman #1 280k; June comic unit sales best since 1997.

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