The latest Terminator: Dark Fate box office projections are lower than originally anticipated, pointing to an opening worse than Terminator Salvation. Despite the property seeing continuously diminishing returns following the highs of Judgment Day in 1991, Hollywood refuses to let the franchise die. Both Salvation and 2015's Terminator Genisys were intended to launch a new trilogy, but those films performed so poorly commercially, the planned sequels were scrapped. Once again, an attempt is being made to revive Terminator, this time with original creator James Cameron in tow as producer.
Reuniting icons Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, Dark Fate is in essence a legacy sequel, ignoring the events of the previous three Terminator films (it serves as a direct followup to Judgment Day). While Dark Fate's critical reception did not attain the same level of acclaim as the first two Terminator installments, the general consensus is it's the entry that finally gets the series back on track after all these years. But even though word-of-mouth is stronger this time around, it doesn't seem to help the film's box office prospects.
According to Box Office Pro, Dark Fate is projected to earn about $33 million domestically during its first three days. That figure is lower than the initial estimates of $35-45 million. If Dark Fate grosses only $33 million in its debut, that will be a worse opening than the aforementioned Salvation, which brought in $42.5 million. Even more troubling, Dark Fate's projections are only slightly higher than Judgment Day's $31.7 million opening (unadjusted for inflation).
It goes without saying this is a far cry from what Paramount was hoping for. The studio made a hefty investment in Dark Fate, as evidenced by its $185 million production budget. Clearly, there was a miscalculation regarding how much pull Terminator had with general moviegoers. There's no denying the first two films' place in the pantheon of all-time sci-fi classics, but the numbers prove Terminator is not on the same level of something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars. Taking another stab at the franchise was always something of a risk, so it probably would have been better to keep costs in check to ensure Dark Fate could become profitable even with a soft opening. Instead, it looks like Dark Fate is going to suffer a similar, well, fate to Paramount's other fall dud, Gemini Man.
Over the past handful of years, there have been a few noteworthy legacy sequels that triumphantly brought their respective properties back and kicked off a new series (The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, etc.). Paramount was definitely hoping Dark Fate could be that for Terminator, but unless the film wildly outperforms the projections, this will go down as a misfire. And since it looks like this will be the third failed try to relaunch Terminator for modern audiences (and the second in four years), it would probably be for the best to just let the property be. Paramount needs a new tentpole to complement the always-reliable Mission: Impossible, but Dark Fate isn't it.
Source: Box Office Pro
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019