The studios have been picking up the Terminator franchise again and again, and again, in attempts to make audiences fall in love with it in order to bring back loads of cash at the box-office. The spotlight has been on money and money only, for it’s been only money for the studios. Let’s go over how much the Terminator films have grossed post the first two magnificent films (The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day). Thanks to Box Office Mojo.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines grossed $433M. Bringing $150M domestically, $283M from the cinema houses based in foreign lands. Is that impressive? Not really; its budget was $200M. The film got to the $400M range, since Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t the California governor yet—back when audiences were still drawn to films starring a big named movie star. Then the already tired franchise got picked up in 2009 by Warner Bros., titling it Terminator Salvation starring Christian Bale as John Connor. With the budget of $200M, the film grossed $125M in domestic box-office and $246M from the screens abroad. Worldwide, it ceased earning at $371M. Though, studios chose not to give up. Here we are in 2015, this time Paramount Pictures tackling a franchise that was pretty much taking its last breath— Terminator Genisys, with $155M budget. Its domestic cash-bag consists of $83M. From the foreign market, so far, it has earned $196M (the film is yet to open in the Chinese market). Terminator Genisys is that ax that the studios paid for in order to behead the franchise. It’s officially dead now. Hollywood Reporter recently penned an interesting piece regarding this hapless franchise.
Every attempt post Terminator 2: Judgment Day screams the lack of passion behind it. Jonathan Mostow, McG and Alan Taylor and the team of writers, all hired to simply collect their paychecks and move on. As a fan of the first two films both directed by James Cameron, it saddens me witnessing the demise of a beloved franchise that had quite the potential. Who’s to blame? The studios are, for their focus was only money; for failing to give the scripts much care and the projects itself being handed to directors for hire—lacking artistic directorial visions. With the technology we possess today, a Terminator film can still be made with a great script and a director with vision just under $100 million. It is absolutely doable. An astute screenplay must be put into works. Going indie, is the way to save the franchise. But, the studios want to go big, I know. They much prefer the concept of pushing a Terminator film as a blockbuster (PG 13, not my cup of tea). If that’s the case, the executives then need to bring artists to the table. My first and foremost choice is James Cameron himself. He’s the man with the Terminator franchise in his soul; he’s the savior of it; he’s the man whom we need to finally say, I’ll bring it back.