The Real Reason ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Flopped

The Terminator is one of the longest-running science-fiction franchises in Hollywood history. With the release of the new film, Terminator: Dark Fate, the series can now boast six feature films, a television drama, and two web shows. Since fans are always hoping for the franchise to continue, many are worried that the box office failure of Terminator: Dark Fate will prevent new Terminator films from being made. Here’s the real reason why the film flopped.

A robot from the Terminator franchise | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ fails to reach a wide audience

According to Variety, the film earned $28 million in its opening weekend. While this is more money than most people will ever see in their lives, that doesn’t mean that the film is successful by Hollywood standards. Industry insiders predicted that the film would make around $40 million during its opening weekend, meaning that the film has fallen far below expectations.

Part of the reason why the industry expected the film to make far more money is because of its budget. The film cost $185 million to make, which is a large price tag. This underwhelming box office performance is a little surprising given that critics embraced the film more than most sixth entries in film franchises.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The film has a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While this doesn’t point to universal critical acclaim, it means that critics liked the film more than the likes of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers or Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Terminator: Dark Fate is also more popular with critics than the previous two entries in the franchise, Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys.

What does this say about Hollywood’s future?

According to Screen Rant, the box office take of Terminator: Dark Fate‘s opening weekend is similar to that of Terminator Genisys, an infamous film from 2015 that was a major stumbling block for the series. Screen Rant reported that Thursday night’s Halloween festivities might have discouraged viewers from the movie that night and impacted the amount of money that the film generated. With all of this in mind, it almost feels like the title of the film was prophetic, as the Terminator series is now suffering a dark fate at the box office.

It’s not hard to see why a studio might think the new Terminator movie would be successful. Both franchise films (Star Wars, Marvel) and 1980s-themed media (It, Stranger Things) have been successful in the past few years. However, it might seem that while franchises and 1980s-themed movies are popular on their own, reviving 1980s franchises is more of a gamble.

Paul Feig, director of Ghostbusters, in a vehicle from the franchise | Primo Barol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The 2016 entry in the Ghostbusters franchise was a major flop for Sony. Jem and the Holograms, a film based on the beloved 1980s Saturday morning cartoon of the same name, was classified by The Telegraph as one of the biggest financial flops of 2015. It will be interesting to see if the financial failures of Terminator: Dark Fate and these other films will prevent Hollywood from creating new entries in other 1980s franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser.