The long-term box office tracking has been released for Terminator: Dark Fate and it’s worse than anyone could have anticipated:
Opening Weekend: $38,000,000
Total Run: $82,000,000
For comparison, back in 2015, Terminator: Genisys was projected to have an opening weekend of $32,000,000 and a total run of $107,000,000.
That movie opened on the Wednesday before a July 4th weekend to only $27 million and ended its domestic run with just under $90 million.
So, Dark Fate might go even lower.
Big-Brained Brads will protest:
“It opened in the summer. Dark Fate is opening in October!”
To which I retort:
But Let’s Talk About That
Terminator: Genisys opened #3 against Jurassic World in its fourth weekend and Inside Out in its the third weekend. But it was a very close three-way tie with Genisys within $2 million of both those movies.
It then got smashed the next two frames by Minions and Ant-Man, not to mention the Amy Schumer date-night comedy, Trainwreck, which opened to $30 million!
By weekend three it had dropped to 6th place with a paltry $6 million take.
The same exact thing happened with Terminator: Salvation in 2009: it got bushwacked by animation and comedy in Up and The Hangover, respectively.
Terminator: Dark Fate is going to open with almost no competition on November 1:
- The cumulative box office projection for the movies opening the previous week is in the $50 million range. That is for their entire run.
- Maleficent 2 and Zombieland 2 are going to be in their third weekend. Neither of those movies is going to have legs.
So, barring interference from the animated Arctic Dogs (government name Arctic Justice), we could be looking at our first #1 opener in the franchise since Rise Of The Machines.
This Has Me Thinking
Why the hell are Terminator movies getting jacked at the box office by comedies and animation?
Those genres are — and have always been — counter-programming to action movies.
At least Rise Of The Machines had the common courtesy to get taken down by the one-two punch of Pirates Of The Caribbean and Bad Boys II.
You know, actual action movies!
What Does It All Mean?
It means the brand is fucking dead. It’s beyond dead. No one gives a shit.
Here’s the proof.
Look at where the little spikes are for the last two movies, those are for the trailers. There was no spike for the Dark Fate trailer.
No Terminator movie has been a hit since Terminator 2 in 1991.
Not only that, no Terminator movie has even really been profitable since then.
“The action genre itself is dead. People are only into comic book movies and Star Wars!”
Shut the fuck up, Brad.
Action isn’t dead. Look what happens when I add John Wick:
A lot of things could save Terminator: Dark Fate including:
- Politically-motivated reviews that will drive up the Rotten Tomatoes score
- Genuinely great action — that dump truck driving through the median barrier looked kind of cool — combined with an inventive script gives it good word of mouth
- Foreign box office
Of those three, foreign box office looks the most likely to keep the franchise on life support. Genisys made 80% of its money overseas, including a very respectable $113 million in China alone. That was also in 2015 when China had about 25% fewer theaters.
Still, even if you give it $140M from China, there is no way to make back your money on a $200 million dollar movie.
For the franchise to survive as a cinematic brand, there will have to be a perfect storm of Chinese money, positive word of mouth and a miraculous lack of interest in the slate of movies released November 7th, 2019.
Those movies include horror in Doctor Sleep and action in Roland Emmerich’s Midway.
That storm is not going to happen and Dark Fate will be a prophetic title indeed.
It ended in the smelting pit.