The Terminator franchise is in something of a precarious situation, following the release of Terminator Genisys back in summer 2015. Genisys served as a “soft reboot” of the Terminator film series – setting the stage for additional installments in the process – and has brought in $440 million worldwide against a $155 million budget. However, the film only made some $90 million stateside and earned a middling-to-poor critical reception – and the general public wasn’t that much kinder to the movie, either.
Recent reports have pegged the Terminator property as being on “indefinite hold” for related reasons, while Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions executives figure out what their next move with the sci-fi/action franchise is going to be. Skydance Media Chief Creative Officer and Terminator series producer Dana Goldberg has now addressed the matter, clarifying that the property is not dead in the water – though, it is under-going some course correction work.
The previous plan was for two Terminator Genisys sequels to shoot in rapid succession (possibly back to back) beginning in the first half of 2016, with Paramount having already staked out release dates for the films in May 2017 and June 2018, respectively. Goldberg, speaking at The Wrap’s 6th Annual Media Leadership Conference TheGrill, confirmed that the plan for continuing the Terminator franchise has changed – though, she explained that the franchise isn’t on hold “so much as re-adjusting” – and that includes the proposed tie-in Terminator television show, too.
Many (most?) of the major Hollywood film studios are currently working to turn their prized intellectual properties into shared cinematic universes, following Marvel Studios’ game-changing success with The Avengers and its Cinematic Universe. Paramount, for example, has mapped out a plan for multiple Transformers sequels and spinoffs to be released over the next decade, and Goldberg confirmed during her TheGrill talk that Paramount and Skydance are approaching the Terminator series in the same way:
“At Skydance, when we talk movies, we talk universes, even more than franchises. So the idea of a ‘Terminator’ TV show fits into that universe. All the steps have to be taken in unison.”
Shared universe building is a different process that franchise building, however, and some studios have already learned the hard way that even a partial misstep in the shared universe construction process can throw all future plans out of whack – see Sony’s abandoned attempt to build a Spider-Man Shared Movie Universe, for case in point. Financially-speaking, though, Terminator Genisys did well enough to justify the continuation of the franchise, based on its continued global appeal.
The key at this stage, as Goldberg put it, is for Paramount and Skydance to better determine what the world wants to see from this property, moving forward:
“Happily, we live in the world where the domestic number had a level of importance 10 or 15 years ago — I’m not saying it’s not important, it is — but we have to play to a worldwide market. In terms of ‘Terminator,’ the worldwide market paid attention, but we’re not taking the domestic number lightly… [We’ll collect] data and research to do a worldwide study and really talk to audiences about what they loved, and what maybe didn’t work for them, so that the next we take with the franchise is the right one.”
Right off the bat, one area where the Terminator franchise could stand to mix things up is (arguably) with regard to the human characters that it focuses on. The last three Terminator movies – as well as the TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles – have fixated heavily on the John Connor character, to the degree that Genisys ended up having to add a left-field twist to the character (played by Jason Clarke in the film) in order to justify further exploration of humanity’s savior in the war against the machines.
Generally speaking, the new iterations of players like Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) in Genisys weren’t so well-received either – and while Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to his iconic Terminator role in the film went over better, the Terminator series might benefit as a whole from the next installment finding some different humans for Schwarzenegger’s cybernetic killer to join forces with, instead. Genisys did leave certain story thread dangling that could be picked up and then fleshed out into more intriguing narrative material by future sequels – even with a shift in focus away from the Connors.
In short: while it could use some course-correcting, the Terminator franchise doesn’t have to, per se, undergo another “soft reboot” in order to continue forward in a promising fashion. Feel free and let us know if you agree and/or have other things that you want to see in any/all upcoming Terminator films and/or TV shows… or, if you feel that it’s time at last for this particular sci-fi/action franchise to just call it a day.
We’ll bring you more information on the future of the Terminator franchise when we have it.
Source: The Wrap