After an optimistic start heralded by an endorsement from Terminator god James Cameron himself, Terminator Genisys faltered, not performing as well in the box office as Paramount expected. In such a sprawling franchise that has seen many other iterations of the same tale, the latest installment was never going to be a guaranteed hit. Yet it promised an interesting take on the story, and a soft reboot with a new timeline and endless possibilities.
Dividing fans and prompting mixed reviews, Terminator Genisys has only taken $81 million in the domestic box office, though the international market proves far more promising, pushing the total up to $278 million overall. With two sequels originally planned to shoot back to back, Paramount are now pausing their plans. So what is the future of the Terminator franchise? And how could Terminator 6 win back the fans?
An Uncertain Future For Terminator
Genisys isn't doing amazingly in the box office, which puts hopes for Terminator 6 in limbo. After performing badly in the USA, Genisys pulled in audiences across the world, and Paramount are currently taking a wait and see approach.
"We will definitely need to see the sales globally to confirm that people like the film."
Terminator Genisys still hasn't been released in countries like China, which tend to boost ticket sales. In the case of Pacific Rim, popularity in the international market proved to Warner Brothers that the film had sequel potential. So now it depends on whether Paramount are ready to take a gamble: Genisys hasn't flopped, but it hasn't proved a blockbuster either. They could save themselves some money by terminating the two planned sequels, but they risk losing what could be a very lucrative trilogy... And as the rights will revert back to James Cameron after a few years, Paramount may regret losing control of the franchise.
No Fate But What We Make
Right now it's a waiting game. The story itself left plenty of room for continuation, and for some fans it was the best film yet. With homages to the original movies and even nods towards the semi-successful TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Genisys was pure fan fun, leaving some delighted and others angry that the original timeline was erased. One pleased fanboy was James Cameron himself, who thinks of Terminator Genisys as the third film in the series.
"It’s being very respectful of the first two films. I feel like the franchise has been reinvigorated, like this is a renaissance."
Of course it's easy to see why Cameron likes the movie: after all, it re-imagines his original story and uses his favourite characters. Many have criticised Genisys' complex time travel plot, a reset that erases the previous timeline. But hasn't every Terminator story since Terminator 2: Judgement Day done exactly that?
Genisys is bit like AU fan fiction, playing with the original story and developing its themes in detail, rather than trying something totally new: a gamble that didn't play out for Terminator Salvation.
The film's potential saving grace is its twist ending: the gang drive off into the sunset, Kyle still alive, confident that they have stopped the war with the machines once and for all. This leaves the story open-ended, but also ties everything up quite nicely if the franchise does indeed die: Sarah might finally get her happy ending!
Terminator 6: The Best Film Yet?
Despite criticisms, and with the sequel green-lit or not, the writers have plenty of plans for Terminator 6.
Matt Smith's Skynet is the key to a brave new plotline, one that will see the gang jumping into alternate universes and potentially facing other versions of themselves. Writer Laeta Calogridis explained.
"This Skynet has been to this universe, and this universe, and this universe. That’s why he says, “I came a very long way to stop you.” He’s not from here."
This story was definitely written with sequels in mind, and while Genisys reveled in re-interpreting the original story, Terminator 6 is set to blast the tale into new possibilities. If it gets the chance, Terminator 6 (and 7!) might just revolutionise the franchise, and become a trilogy in its own right.
But what do you think: was Genisys revolutionary or convoluted? And will Terminator 6 save the series? Let us know in the comments, or write your own post!