While “Terminator: Dark Fate” was number one on the big screen this weekend, it’s $29 million domestic and $102 million overseas hauls, we’re far, far below expectations for its opening weekend.
And now, industry analysts are expecting that it may lose up to $100 million total at the box office. Can you imagine just losing that amount of money? That’s not like 20 bucks falling out of your pants in the laundry, that’s 100 million dollars.
And while this is all film industry insider baseball, this news does have fans wondering,
What’s next for the “Terminator” franchise?
Now in case you missed it, “Dark Fate” was an attempt at course correction, in that it’s a sequel to the beloved “Terminator Two: Judgment Day“, and it completely ignores the events of “Terminator Three: Rise of the Machines“, “Terminator Salvation“, and “Terminator Genisys“.
However, while “Terminator Dark Fate” got favorable reviews and reactions from both critics and audiences, most calling it the best “Terminator” since Arnold gave that molten metal thumbs-up back in 1991, it seems that this wasn’t enough to get fans to forget the series past missteps and plant their butts in theater seats.
Now couple that with the last few entries in the franchise underperforming and leaving a bad taste in fan’s mouths, it begs the question,
Could this be the end of the “Terminator” franchise?
Well to be honest, no, probably not. These movies continue to be made because the intellectual property and the franchise remains strong, not only domestically, but internationally.
But we would imagine, that much like these metal killing machines themselves, the franchise will have to make some changes and evolve to match the habits of modern audiences.
And in our minds, here are the three moves the “Terminator” franchise should make if they want to live in the future.
Now the first is, to let it rest for a while. I mean, ever since T3 we’ve got a new Terminator film every four to six years.
“Rise of the Machines” in 2003, “Salvation” in 2009, “Genisys” in 2015, and now “Dark Fate” in 2019. There’s not enough time between entries and the bad taste from each previous iteration, it’s still fresh in our proverbial palates.
Now letting these films stop for a while to regain their nostalgic appeal, that’s kind of crucial.
A prime example of this is “Jurassic Park”. While “Jurassic Park Three” in 2001 was considered to be sort of the diminishing returns point of the series and what made the original great, the series took a long nap.
They went into Amber, only to return in 2015 with “Jurassic World”. Fans were given enough time to forget all about that kid collecting jars of dinosaur piss, even if I had to remember it.
So when the series came back, audiences were ready for a new film, and they showed up in droves at the cinema. The second thing that the “Terminator” franchise can do is really get back to its roots.
So what is a “Terminator” film at its base?
It’s an unstoppable killer robot going against humans who are definitely in an underdog position. While “Terminator Genisys” did this on the surface, it tripped over itself by trying to tie in all of the overly complicated, this time travel mythology and all the rules they’ve set up, and it basically just fell flat on its face.
“Terminator Dark Fate” also attempted to do this by jettisoning some of the baggage the franchise has built, but it still remains a sequel to “Terminator Two” at its heart.
What we’re pitching here, is a new original story. And while we all loved seeing Linda Hamilton back as Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger back as Arnold Schwarzenegger but a robot, maybe it’s time for all new faces.
And the third fix for the Terminator is to really question where this franchise is best suited. Basically, does it still belong on the big screen?
Now audience habits have changed a ton since the first “Terminator” came out in the 1980s. I mean, TV’s become this cultural touchstone, and the medium can now handle blockbuster film level storytelling.
Other franchises seem to be playing around with their formats as well. Look at “Jurassic World” and “Alien”, they both recently made short films that feel like they’re testing the waters of how audiences would react to different storytelling mediums.
In fact, there’s been several rumors that an “Alien” TV show is being developed for Hulu. A new “Terminator” show could take the form of like an eight-episode season or a limited series with tight scripting, so they could breathe new life into this franchise.
Something that concentrates on telling a dynamic and compelling story that’ll bring fans back on board, of course, with killer robots stuck in humans in the past. And a TV outing wouldn’t be a first for “Terminator”.
A lot of fans really loved the Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX, even though it was canceled in its second season.
So while the “Terminator” franchise seems to have been caught flat-footed, it’s nowhere near the end for this vaunted IP in sci-fi history.
There are definite ways for it to move forward, and we would definitely be interested in seeing where things could go from here.
But what do you folks think? Did you end up seeing “Terminator: Dark Fate”? Would you watch a new “Terminator” TV show? And if you could have seen any of your favorite movies turned into a TV show, what would you pick and why? “Lethal Weapon”, “Fargo”, “The Karate Kid”? I mean those could happen.