This summer ended up being one of the most commercially successful in Hollywood history, thanks to massive hits such as Jurassic World and Inside Out. However, not every studio was so lucky. Paramount suffered a blow in July, when its Terminator: Genisys failed to reinvigorate the classic sci-fi property, earning mostly negative reviews and scoring just $89.7 million at the U.S. box office.
What made it all the more crushing for the studio was that they had hoped to use the franchise reboot as a launching pad for a new trilogy of films; however, Genisys‘ performance and word-of-mouth painted a very cloudy picture for the future. The hope was that the international gross would be able to salvage Genisys, but it appears that it didn’t do quite well enough.
In a report covering Hollywood financers also producing the films they bankroll (as Skydance’s David Ellison did with Genisys), THR briefly addresses the current state of the Terminator franchise. Despite a strong showing overseas – including $112 million in China alone – it is still believed that the film will end up losing money for the studio, and sources say that the series has been put on an indefinite hold.
This news really shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it’s become apparent that the Terminator brand doesn’t have a strong pull nowadays as it once did. Even with the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his iconic role, there wasn’t much interest. It’s true that there are still ways to bring the property back to respectability in a new movie, but the reputation of the brand has been sullied by a string of underwhelming offerings (going back to Terminator: Rise of the Machines) with diminishing box office returns. Making another just wouldn’t be worth the investment at this juncture.
Paramount doesn’t need Terminator be its new cash cow either, as the studio is actively developing a Transformers shared cinematic universe (one composed of both sequels and spinoffs). Say what you will about that series’ quality, it knows how to bring in large crowds; in 2014, Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed over $1 billion worldwide, illustrating that the franchise is largely critic-proof. In addition, Paramount also has Star Trek Beyond planned for a July 2016 release, with stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto under contract for a fourth film in that lucrative series.
If anything is going to spur Paramount to green light another Terminator, it’s that James Cameron will regain the rights to the property in 2019. And with the filmmaker spending the foreseeable future in the world of Avatar‘s Pandora, it seems unlikely he would dedicate the time and resources needed to make a new Terminator. Paramount may decide to keep moving forward in the hopes that the next one will break big, but few would complain if they decided to let it be. The series narrative looks to have run its course, and unless someone can come up with a mindblowing idea that offers a fresh take on the mythos, there may not be that much ground left to cover.
Terminator: Genisys will be available on Blu-ray starting November 10th, 2015. We’ll keep you updated on all developments concerning the Terminator franchise’s future.