Terminator: Dark Fate Flops At Box Office, Could Lose $100 Million

"The blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles."

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The new Terminator movie, Dark Fate, opened in theatres this weekend--and it came up short. The action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Mackenzie Davis, made only $29 million at the US box office. That makes it a flop, given the film reportedly cost close to $200 million to produce, according to Deadline. Variety reports that the movie cost $185 million to make, with up to $100 million more in marketing costs.

The site said a $29 million opening for the movie--which was directed by Deadpool's Tim Miller--is a "terrible result" and just the latest struggle for the Terminator franchise. 2015's Terminator: Genisys, which ultimately grossed just $90 million domestically, made only $27 million for its opening weekend in the US.

The Terminator movies are made by film companies Paramount and Skydance, and Dark Fate is just their latest poorly performing movie. Their previous release, the Will Smith-starring Gemini Man, also bombed at the box office and is predicted to lose money.

Dark Fate was No. 1 at the US box office this weekend, but its $29 million opening was the lowest No. 1 first-weekend result for any movie since 2013's Ender's Game ($27 million).

Dark Fate was financed mainly by three companies--Paramount, Skydance, and Disney (via Fox). Each company put in 30 percent, with China's Tencent adding the rest. Variety reported that Dark Fate could end up losing $100 million at the box office, though those losses could be mitigated through deals for TV and streaming, along with rentals and other sources.

Dark Fate picked up decent review scores from critics, while the movie received a very solid B+ rating on CinemaScore (which measures audience reaction). If Paramount was trying to reinvigorate the series with a younger audience, that didn't really work. The movie's domestic box office was made up of only 25 percent of people in the 18-24 age bracket.

Behind the scenes, Dark Fate ran into problems as well. James Cameron, who wrote and directed the first Terminator movie and remains attached to the series as a producer, told CinemaBlend that there were "many" disagreements during the editing process.

"The blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles. This is a film that was forged in fire," he recalled.

According to Cameron, Miller--the director--wanted more control over the direction of the film. "Tim wanted to make it his movie. And I'm like, 'Yeah, but I kind of know a little about this world.' So I had the matter and the anti-matter version of that producorial experience," he said.

You can see the full Top 10 box office chart below, as compiled by EW.

October 25-27 US Box Office:

  1. Terminator: Dark Fate —$29 million
  2. Joker — $14 million
  3. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — $12.2 million
  4. Harriet — $12 million
  5. The Addams Family — $8.5 million
  6. Zombieland 2: Double Tap — $7.4 million
  7. Countdown — $5.9 million
  8. Black and Blue — $4.1 million
  9. Motherless Brooklyn — $3.7 million
  10. Arctic Dogs — $3.1 million

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