Is Terminator: Dark Fate's Quiet Opening A Death Sentence For That Trilogy Plan?

Terminator: Dark Fate Linda Hamilton Sarah Connor poster

Yeah, maybe they were asking for trouble with that title. Terminator: Dark Fate appears to be losing the battle this weekend. The initial forecast was for $35-$45 million, which is a wide enough gap, but it looks like the domestic opening will actually be closer to $27 million. Terminator Genisys only opened to $27 million in 2015, and it played on fewer screens.

At least Terminator Genisys made up a lot of ground overseas ($89.7M domestic and $350.8M international). It doesn't sound like the international box office is going to save the day this time. Terminator: Dark Fate already had a low opening overseas, and China -- the second biggest box office market in the world -- looks like it might only contribute $30 million in ticket sales, down from the hope of $40-$50 million.

Deadline dubbed this "a terrible result" for Terminator: Dark Fate, which reportedly cost between $185-$195 million to make, but that wouldn't include marketing costs. The "break even" point for the movie is said to be over $470 million. At this point, it's not expected to hit that mark, but we'll see.

So now what? James Cameron had talked about setting up a potential new trilogy with Terminator: Dark Fate, building off that ending. As Cameron said a few months ago:

We spent several weeks breaking story and figuring out what type of story we wanted to tell so we would have something to pitch Linda [Hamilton]. We rolled up our sleeves and started to break out the story and when we got a handle on something we looked at it as a three-film arc, so there is a greater there to be told. If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films.

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James Cameron was a producer on Terminator: Dark Fate -- although not the director, and he didn't even go to set, he just had a lot of feedback before filming and during editing. Cameron is big on making sequels these days, from his many Avatar movies coming up to his hopes as a producer for Alita: Battle Angel to lead to more movies. At this point, Alita may have a better chance at seeing a sequel than Terminator: Dark Fate.

Director Tim Miller said he's OK with or without a sequel, he just appreciated being able to play in the sandbox with James Cameron. Linda Hamilton joked she'd rather fake her own death than come back for a sequel, but that may have been akin to Daniel Craig's infamous slash-my-wrists comment and he returned for another James Bond movie.

If there's no fate but what we make for ourselves, we the public appear to have settled on a fate of no more Terminator movies. What went wrong? Was there just not enough interest in this particular Terminator movie, or any new Terminator movie?

Dark Fate was a direct sequel to the two most popular Terminator movies, the first two with Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new film has decent reviews from both critics and the fans who paid to see it. Then again, Terminator Genisys still has defenders and there was a time that was eyed to start a new trilogy too.

If this is about more than Terminator, and it's a sign that fans are fading on a return to favorite franchises ... well, that can't be a good sign for the many Avatar sequels. It may not be the case, though, since Jamie Lee Curtis had a huge hit with her Halloween return and there seems to be a fair amount of excitement for the Ghostbusters 2020 movie.

Do you think this is it for Terminator trilogy plans or is there still hope? Maybe they can go back in time and fix this somehow...

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.