'Terminator' Franchise May Be Dead After 'Dark Fate' Flops

Terminator: Dark Fate is being considered a box office flop, and now the future of the franchise could be in jeopardy, and possibly even dead. The film's total worldwide box office revenue its opening weekend was $123.6 million, according to The Numbers. This is against a budget of $185 million, with tens (if not hundreds) of millions spent on marketing, as well. Now, there is a change that the film could lose more than $120 million, depending on how the rest of its theatrical run turns out. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the film may not earn back its total budget, which would seal its fate as a certified flop.

This obviously does not bode well for the future of the Terminator films, as its previous entry — 2015's Terminator Genisys — was also very poorly received.

Notably, however, Dark Fate has had better reviews than its predecessor, earning a 70% Fresh critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 84 percent Fresh fan score. This is compared to Genisys' 27 percent critics rating, and only 53 percent fan score.

While this may not sound like much, it is a clear indicator that Dark Fate struck a nerve with fans and critics alike, which could mean that if handled the right way, audiences would warmly welcome more entries into the Terminator franchise.

"Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) has hit a reset button, and he finds just the right mix of action, suspense and, when needed, old-school comic relief," wrote Washington Post film critic Michael O'Sullivan.

"An actor's age is irrelevant. What matters is that you have compelling characters performed well, which is why Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger carry this film," added Salon's Matthew Rozsa, in a 3/4 stars review.

"It's mindless fun, overly nostalgic in places and held together with the breathless, non-stop action sequences that made T2 a huge hit," Screenwize critic Simon Weaving offered.

Ultimately, there is no telling what the future of the Terminator brand could be, though THR notes that a source advised them that Skydance — Dark Fate's lead producing studio — currently have no plans for a sequel.

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One possibility for Terminator could be a return to the small screen. Aside from the first two films in the franchise, Fox's short-lived Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — which starred Game of Thrones' Lena Headey in the title role that Linda Hamilton originated — was a heralded entry in the franchise. While it only lasted for two seasons, seemingly due to low ratings in its second season, the show was critically acclaimed.

Could another Terminator TV or streaming series be what's needed to energize the franchise and reignite its popularity? Only time will tell.

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