Not a great start to a potential trilogy, it must be said.
Terminator: Dark Fate opened last weekend to $29 million at the domestic box office. According to Forbes, it made only $2.8 million on Friday, November 8, marking a 73% drop from opening day on November 1. That’s the worst for a Terminator Friday opening, but if we’re getting technical about it, Terminator: Salvation decided to open on a Thursday and had an 80% drop in its next Thursday. That was in 2009 and mayyyybe it should’ve been a hint. The 73% drop is also not quite as low as Batman v Superman‘s 81% drop or Dark Phoenix‘s truly sad 83% drop in their own second Fridays.
But at this point, Terminator: Dark Fate is only expected to make just over $10 million this weekend, which would be a drop of 65% from last weekend. That is pretty big considering Dark Fate only started with a $29 million opening weekend. To go back to Terminator Salvation, that movie opened to $42.5 million 10 years ago, so even a slightly bigger week-to-week percentage drop gave it more money than Dark Fate.
Terminator: Dark Fate is on track to make about $48 million domestic in 10 days — just above what 2015’s Terminator: Genisys made in five days and what Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines made in its opening weekend. To be even more brutal about it, Forbes estimates Dark Fate will end its domestic run with around $65-$70 million — that’s about what Rise of the Machines earned here in its first five days in 2003 and what Terminator: Salvation made from Thursday to Memorial Day Monday in 2009.
Not to beat a dead horse, but that’s bad.
Here are the total worldwide grosses for the other Terminator movies to date, per Box Office Mojo, all unadjusted for inflation:
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Terminator: Dark Fate picks up from Terminator 2, ignoring the subsequent sequels — sequels which may have been disappointing, but may also make more money.
Terminator: Dark Fate cost between $185-$195 million to make, not including marketing costs. According to Deadline, the movie will have to make $470 million worldwide to break even. If it were making a killing at the international box office, that might happen. But it’s not exactly crushing overseas either.
Going into this second weekend, the film was only at $135 million worldwide, with $94M of that from the foreign box office. That’s a lot more than domestic, but the addition of this weekend’s numbers, and whatever comes next week and beyond, probably won’t be enough to hit that break even point.
So what do we know? Not many people went to see Terminator: Dark Fate in Week 1, and the OK-to-good scores out there from fans — B+ CinemaScore, 84% rating from 8,607 RT users, 6.5/10 rating from 37,303 IMDb users — didn’t convince many newcomers to try it in Week 2.
So even if you too think you know where James Cameron was going with his Terminator trilogy plans after Dark Fate, it’s unlikely now that those plans will see the light of day.