"Terminator: Dark Fate" opened with an estimated $29 million at the domestic box office.
That's below the $30 million-plus the industry projected it to make.
Its opening is on par with the franchise's last entry, 2015's "Terminator Genisys," which brought in $27 million.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" was supposed to breathe new life into the franchise with the return of its creator James Cameron as a producer and Linda Hamilton as its star for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgement Day." But none of that helped.
The sixth movie in the franchise brought in an estimated $29 million over the weekend at the domestic box office (not good for a movie budgeted at north of $180 million), which won the weekend box office but is below the high $30 million to low $40 million projected opening the industry had for it. Instead, it's on par with what the last movie in the franchise made, 2015's "Terminator Genisys," which opened at $27 million over July 4th weekend (though the movie earned over $440 million worldwide, it only made $90 million in North America). The global cume is $101.9 million.
This was hardly the plan Paramount/Skydance Media had for the movie, which was supposed to be a relaunch of the franchise. With James Cameron coming on the project and wrangling Hamilton, the plan was made to scrap "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," "Terminator Salvation," and "Terminator Genisys" from the history of the franchise and have "Dark Fate" take place after "Judgement Day." Basically being part three.
But no canon tweaking helped. It seems audiences are truly tired of this franchise.
And behind the scenes, director Tim Miller had to deal with the demands that come with working with Cameron and a studio uncertain with what it had. Miller told Business Insider he and Cameron had a disagreement about an element of the movie's time travel plot, and it wasn't decided until the movie was in post production if it was to be released as an R-rated movie or PG-13 (R won out). There was even talk of there being a simultaneous release in both ratings.
The irony is that critics were kinder to this movie than the last few. The score for "Dark Fate" on Rotten Tomatoes is at 69%, which is a franchise-best since "Rise of the Machines" (also a 69% score).
However, that score on the lower side of fresh might have been a deciding factor for the non-franchise die hards. Six movies in (let's face it, the franchise has done six movies), it has become clear the general audience is not motivated to go to the theaters to see "Terminator" movies anymore.
In the era of streaming, don't be surprised if future chapters move from the big screen to a streamer.
Box office highlights:
Warner Bros.' "Joker" has grossed over $900 million worldwide ($934 million).Focus Features' "Harriet" bests projections and earns $12 million its opening weekend.Neon's "Parasite" expanded to 461 screens. The award contended has earned over $7.5 million to date.