In 2003, 12 years after the release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Warner Bros (the studio that owned the rights to Terminator at the time) decided to revisit the franchise and make a sequel titled, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The film made approximately $US 100 million less at the global box office than T2 ($US 520.8 million), although it had a far bigger budget. Terminator: Salvation which came out in 2009 made even less money ($US 371.3 million) with an even bigger budget. Terminator: Genisys saw a slight increase in terms of global box office gross ($US 440 million), but pretty much told a similar story: The masses had simply stopped caring about Terminator.
The counter to that was always James Cameron’s lack of involvement in the franchise he birthed, and that if the director of Titanic decided to take the franchise under his wing again, it would once again be thriving and relevant. Well, last week saw the release of Terminator: Dark Fate. While Cameron may not have directed the film, he was for the first time in years, directly involved in its creative process. He came up with the story, he picked the director, etc. And the film turned out to be pretty damn good. Dark Fate received mostly positive reviews (70% on Rotten Tomatoes; average critic rating: 6.2/10) and was celebrated by hardcore fans of the product as well.
However, once again, the film has failed to light the box office on fire. In North America, the film grossed a disastrous $US 29 million in its opening weekend. Even if word of mouth picks up, it’s difficult to picture the film making more than $US 90 million in North America by the end of its run, which would be roughly around what Terminator: Genisys made in 2009, which grossed $US 27 million in its opening weekend.
The film isn’t smashing it outside of North America either. Including it’s disappointing $US 28 million gross in China in its first weekend, Dark Fate only grossed $US 94.6 million so far outside of North America. This brings its current global tally to $US 123.6 million. That’s around $US 60 million less than its production budget of $US 185 million. With the likes of Doctor Sleep and Charlie’s Angels releasing in the coming weeks, Dark Fate would most likely continue to stumble. A damn shame if you ask me, considering it’s actually an enjoyable film that harkens back to Cameron’s original films. The fact of the matter is, the masses simply do not care about Terminator films anymore.
Terminator: Dark Fate is currently playing in Malaysian cinemas.