As promised, the Terminator franchise came back... but it didn't arrive to the kind of
financial success that studio Paramount Pictures was hoping for.
Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth entry into the Terminator film series that acts as a
direct sequel to 1984's Terminator and 1991's Terminator: Judgment Day, opened in theaters
on Friday, November 1 to dismal box office returns.
Despite having James Cameron back on board as a producer, Deadpool director Tim Miller
behind the helm, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton in their respective roles as
the T-800 Terminator and the gun-toting badass Sarah Connor, and a host of intriguing new
characters in the mix, Dark Fate sadly lived up to its name facing a dark fate by earning
just $29 million domestically and $94.6 million internationally over its opening weekend.
That's not good for a franchise trying so desperately to redeem itself.
"If something goes wrong, this could be our last chance — so MOVE!"
With a total debut pull of $123.6 million, Terminator: Dark Fate hasn't come close to
recouping its reported production budget of $185 million, which doesn't include the cost
of marketing and distribution.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this means that Dark Fate could end up costing
Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, and the now-shuttered 20th Century Fox more than $120
Each company is said to have financed 30 percent of the film's budget, which works out to about
$55.5 million a pop.
The remaining 10 percent of Dark Fate's production budget is on the line at the Chinese conglomerate
THR details the worst-case scenario for Terminator: Dark Fate as costing its financiers $130 million
in the event that the film loses its overseas traction and winds up flopping.
A source close to the outlet has indicated that the better-case scenario is that Paramount,
Skydance, Fox owner Disney, and Tencent may end up eating only $110 million if Dark Fate,
quote, "does have strong legs offshore."
Still, Variety reports that Terminator: Dark Fate is looking at a worldwide take-home of
only $180 million to $200 million dollars, and that the film would need to earn around
$450 million total just to break even.
It would be simple to say that Dark Fate tanked at the box office because critics and fans
absolutely hated it and think it's a massive piece of garbage, but that would be a lie.
It seems a big reason why Terminator: Dark Fate tanked financially isn't because everyone
thinks the film is horrible.
Rather, it appears that the films that preceded Dark Fate the much-derided Terminator 3: Rise
of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, and Terminator Genisys, all of which Dark Fate
actually ignores were so bad that people aren't giving the new movie a chance.
Fewer people heading out to theaters naturally means less revenue, and it looks as though
this is the situation in which Dark Fate is currently stuck.
For some fans, the fact that Terminator: Dark Fate is being touted as a franchise-reviver
might instill in them a terrible sense of déjà vu.
After all, 2015's Terminator Genisys was also marketed as a something of a breath of fresh
air to the struggling franchise, with Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke stepping into the
role of Sarah Connor, and wound up getting ripped to shreds by everyone who saw it.
There's a strong chance people are afraid Dark Fate is just Genisys with different packaging
which really isn't accurate.
"Never seen one like you before.
"I am human.
"Which means I can rip your throat out if you piss me off."
Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Terminator: Dark Fate are fairly solid.
The film sits at a respectable 70 percent critical rating.
"Terminator: Dark Fate represents a significant upgrade over its immediate predecessors, even
if it lacks the thrilling firepower of the franchise's best installments."
Sure, some critics weren't super fond of the flick, but others found it truly enjoyable
like TheWrap's William Bibbiani, who said of Dark Fate, quote, "This story actually
demands to be told, and it gets told with precision and skill."
For their part, fans liked Dark Fate better than critics did.
The film's audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is clocking in at 84 percent as of the making
of this video.
Overall, Terminator: Dark Fate may not be a mind-blowing piece of cinema or a universal
crowd-pleaser, but it isn't avoid-at-all-costs awful.
It's a pretty good film with pretty good ratings.
But regardless of what Dark Fate has going for it Cameron returning as producer, Schwarzenegger
and Hamilton back in action, a new story to tell, passable reviews it still floundered
at the box office.
Unless Terminator: Dark Fate somehow does the impossible and earns an unthinkable amount
of money in the very near future, things aren't looking good for the franchise.
What was intended to be a balm to help heal the film series may have just made it even
sicker and possibly even pushed it to its doom.
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