The party line on Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genisys always seemed to be that Paramount wanted the latest chapter in the Terminator saga to operate as the start of a fresh trilogy. We have stories dating back to 2014 about sequels being shot back-to-back, structured around this young cast who’d be asked to carry the Terminator torch for a new generation. Will they still get a chance to make that happen?
The numbers this morning aren’t helping the case. Taylor’s Terminator: Genisys opened to $28.7 million over the holiday weekend, and a 5-day haul of $44.1M. IGN reports that this is lowest bow in the franchise’s decades-long history. Genisys couldn’t top either Jurassic World or Inside Out, two films that have been out for weeks now. Though all is not lost, as The Hollywood Reporter notes that the film earned a decent CinemaScore of B+, and picked up steam as the holiday weekend wore on.
The silver lining for Terminator: Genisys appears to be its international draw. Arnold Schwarzenegger, returning to his signature franchise as the T-800, remains a global superstar, and the sequel did much better overseas than it did in North America. THR says Genisys has banked $129.6 million internationally to date, so foreign receipts could save the day in the larger picture of the Terminator franchise.
But is it worth saving? The cast and crew certainly believe so, even as they hedged their bets heading in to opening weekend. While attending a Q-and-A for Terminator: Genisys in New York City, we were able to quote Schwarzenegger as saying that the demand of the fans should dictate whether the story started in Genisys gets to continue. And in a very revealing interview with The Daily Beast, director Alan Taylor admits that he knows his movie has gaping plot holes, and that vital information was intentionally left out so major questions could be answered in subsequent films. Taylor said:
Yes, the looming questions are, ‘Who sends Pops back? Where did Skynet get it together to attack John Connor? How did that happen?’ And there are answers to these things that are not provided in this movie, instantly."
But is that the right way to approach a franchise relaunch? Should you assume that you are going to get a chance to answer lingering questions? Because when Genisys ended, we had a number of issues we wanted to discuss, and now it’s possible that we aren’t going to get a chance to have them answered by the people who know what’s happening in this world.
Do I think Terminator franchise is dead? No. I think that Paramount needs franchises under its belt, and with a younger cast (of Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney) under contract, they will spin the weekend’s results in favor of continuing the series somehow. Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore already started laying the foundation for the "This Is A Win" narrative by saying to THR that Terminator: Genisys played "above what people thought we would," and going so far as to call the international numbers for the sequel "spectacular." Whether they believe it or not, that’s likely enough to keep the Terminator sequels – already dated for May 19, 2017 and June 29, 2018 – on the fast track to pre-production.