One of the downsides to a cinematic landscape in which almost all studio fare is blockbusters is that when those blockbusters fall they fall hard. The latest example: Terminator: Dark Fate didn’t do so hot on opening weekend, raking in a mere $29 million in North American theaters. As per The Hollywood Reporter, this could lead to a $120 million loss for the three companies that footed its bill.
THR reports that the sixth episode in the 35-year-old franchise, which began with 1984’s fairly inexpensive (and subsequently quite profitable) The Terminator, had a budget of around $180 million. That cost was split between evenly between Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, and 20th Century Fox. All will have to eat the sizable bill unless a miracle happens, which is that overseas numbers prove far higher than the meager ones stateside. (And since Fox is now owned by Disney, that’s their problem now, just as the underperforming Dark Phoenix suddenly became their problem over the summer.)
A miracle, alas, doesn’t seem likely. Dark Fate’s performance overseas wasn’t much better than here, with a mere $94.6 million earned from other territories, including a modest $28 million in China. If those numbers don’t dip too low, the loss could be a “mere” $110 million; if they drop even lower, that could rise to $130 million.
Either way, things don’t look good for the movie that brought Linda Hamilton back to the series, as well as Cameron, who served as producer and contributed to the story — his first dalliance with the franchise since the 1996 theme park attraction: T2 3D: Battle Across Time. Though the first sequel, 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, was one of the biggest and most beloved hits of that decade, the following three have all underperformed. Dark Fate fared slightly better than the last one, 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, but that’s not saying much. What’s likely is this is probably the last time a Terminator film will be allowed to not do well at the box office. Hasta la vista, maybe.