It seems the lackluster release of Terminator Genisys has but an put a rather massive question mark over the franchise as a whole. Is it likely that Arnie will never "be back?"
Currently, Terminator Genisys, a soft reboot of the franchise which hoped to sidestep the less popular sequels, has made around $279 million globally with a fairly appalling $27 million opening weekend. Although the film might be on track to break even (it probably needs to make around $300 million) it certainly isn't the run away success Paramount hoped it would be.
There is a chance its stronger performance in foreign markets (in particular China, where it has yet to open) could save the franchise, but it seems domestic audiences may have tired of the Terminator story - especially those not led by James Cameron. A spokesperson for Paramount told The Hollywood Reporter:
We will definitely need to see the holds globally to confirm that people like the film.
Check out the Terminator Genisys trailer below:
Other experts aren't so sure it can continue in its current guise, however. MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler stated:
If they are going to make another one, something has to change. You either have to make a better film or make it cheaper. They tried to bring in elements of the first film, but it didn’t work. It’s going to be very difficult. They’re going to have to cater to the international market.
Of course, catering to the international market does not necessarily make for a good movie, in fact it often results in the opposite. The American movies which generally do best aboard are fairly generic CGI action flicks which prioritize spectacle over story - think Transformers: Age of Extinction. Although this is fine for some films, for beloved classics - such as Terminator - it's not as welcome. To be successful abroad, you have to make the movie as accessible as possible to people all over the world, this naturally results in a fairly broad, formulaic experience.
Even if Terminator Genisys does make enough cash, I can still see it failing to launch a new franchise. From its very inception I got the impression there were few people out there who were genuinely excited to see a new Terminator - even one starring Arnie. Maybe the studio would do better to spend its cash elsewhere?