Returning to theatres this weekend with the hope to correct franchise wrong-doings were Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Tim Miller directed Terminator: Dark Fate. With Hamilton returning to reprise her legendary Sarah Connor for the first time in twenty-eight years and with James Cameron on-board as producer, the growing anticipation for the film promised a robust weekend box-office opening and successful relaunch of the Terminator IP.
Launching on nearly 4,100 screens across North America, Terminator: Dark Fate which received modest if not overwhelming reviews, opened with a lukewarm 2.4 million in Thursday night previews. Considering it was Halloween, it’s certain the filmmakers and studios involved (Paramount domestically and Disney internationally), were hoping for a rebound over the course of the weekend.
Although the film was tracking in the mid-40 million range over the course of the past three weeks, it seems that movie-goers had a change of heart upon the picture’s North American release. In fact, all things box-office started to foreshadow financial hardships for the $185 million budgeted film, with its European roll-out last weekend. Taking in a mere $12.6 million for a tentpole in major European markets including France and the UK, it was evident that the Terminator brand was suffering heading into its North American premiere, even with Hamilton, Schwarzenegger and Cameron reuniting.
This weekend in the United States and Canada, it does seem that the brand has been terminated. A true box-office disaster in every sense of the word, this weekend’s opening of nearly $29 million is a reminder that franchise devotees and general movie-going audiences did not ask for or need another Terminator film. Although the shift back onto Sarah Connor was compelling, it seems that unless James Cameron is in the director chair, a Terminator film is not truly a theatrical event.
Moving forward, long-term prospects do not look well for Dark Fate. Surely, the film will not have longevity at the North American box-office and even China doesn’t seem like favorable for the film as it was for Terminator: Genysis with that film’s near $130 million box-office take in the country during its summer 2015 roll-out. With only $28 million in China over three days (Genysis made that amount in its first day of release), the world-wide outlook for the picture looks grim. This weekend, globally, Terminator: Dark Fate has totaled less than $135 million.
Overall, the post-Halloween box-office seemed to suffer from a general sugar coma as moviegoers stayed home to catch up on their streaming viewing. With that said, Dark Fate is a true reminder that studios need to do much more than dust off rusty old franchises in order to get movie-goers away from their streaming apps at a time when so much richly produced content is available online.
Below is this weekend’s box-office wrap up, courtesy of Box-Office Mojo:
Terminator: Dark Fate (4086 theaters) – $38.0 M
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (3820 theaters) – $11.25 M
Joker (3519 theaters) – $11.25 M
Harriet (2086 theaters) – $8.0 M
The Addams Family ( 3607 theaters) – $7.6 M
Zombieland: Double Tap (3337 theaters) – $6.7 M
Arctic Dogs (2844 theaters) – $5.0 M
The Lighthouse (978 theaters) $4.4 M
Countdown (2697 theaters) $4.1 M
Black and Blue (2062 theaters) $3.4 M