2015 will most likely go down as the great year of the Hollywood franchise revival, with several tentpole projects looking to bring back iconic properties that have been dormant for years or even decades. Some of these works, like Universal's Jurassic World, were major success stories, winning over critics and audiences alike. Others, such as Terminator Genisys, weren't as fortunate and struggled to recapture their series' former glory.
Heading into Genisys' theatrical release, Paramount was banking hard on director Alan Taylor's reboot, planning for it to be the first installment in a new trilogy of films and perhaps launching an accompanying TV series to round out the universe. However, that was before Genisys failed to leave an impression with critics (read our review) and had a soft debut at the box office that illustrated interest in the brand had waned over the years. Now, the studio isn't sure what the next move will be.
A new report from THR indicates that studio executives are at a crossroads when it comes to developing future installments. In terms of commercial performance, Genisys hasn't lit the marketplace on fire, but it hasn't been a total bomb either. The domestic gross of $81.2 million is nothing to write home about, but the film is currently at $278 million and it could reach $400 million by the time its theatrical run is over. That puts the new Terminator in the same class of a film like Pacific Rim - a so-called "bubble" movie that (in that particular case) did eventually get a green light.
Paramount's current plan is to let Genisys play out and make a decision from there. One source told THR that the studio needs to see how "the market holds globally" to accurately gauge interest in a Terminator 6. It's important to note that Genisys still has not opened in China, which has become a major player in the Hollywood industry. Should Genisys have a strong performance in that lucrative territory, then the studio heads will feel more comfortable about green lighting a followup.
However, even if Genisys does well overseas, it probably won't make things that much easier. Part of Genisys' appeal was the return of a beloved franchise and another chance to see star Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his defining roles. Audiences were excited about the possibilities, but the overall lukewarm reception for Genisys will give Paramount reason to re-consider if a sequel really is a worthwhile investment.
On the other hand, pulling the plug on the franchise could be damaging, as it represents potential millions left on the table (THR cites the Fast & Furious movies as an examples of the virtues of sticking with a property through its rough patches). Terminator is still a big name, but after three films that've failed to re-invigorate interest in the property, it might be time for this series to call it a day. On the other hand, if Genisys ultimately turns a solid profit, then Paramount may be all the more inclined to keep this franchise going - so that the studio isn't just making Star Trek and Transformers movies for the foreseeable future.
The Terminator Genisys sequels are currently scheduled for theatrical release on May 19th, 2017 and June 29th, 2018. We'll keep you posted on the situation as more information becomes available.