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SYFY WIRE Box Office

Box office: Terminator: Dark Fate can't change the past with disappointing $29 million debut

By Josh Weiss
Terminator Dark Fate

Even with a major retcon that erases the events of three lukewarm sequels, the Terminator franchise didn't fare so well at the box office this weekend with the world debut of Dark Fate.

Despite the return of James Cameron (executive producer) and Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor), the film majorly underperformed, with $29 million domestically—more than $10 million less than early projections of around $40 million. With that said, it still managed to take the top spot and achieve $2 million more than the last entry in the series, 2015's Terminator Genisys, which holds a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. Overseas (Disney is handling foreign distribution), Dark Fate has done much better, with $72.9 million, but an international gross of $101 million isn't the greatest for a big studio project that cost $185 million to produce.

Serving as a direct sequel to 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator: Dark Fate finds Sarah Connor teaming up with an android from the future (Blade Runner 2049's Mackenzie Davis) to protect a new hope for the future, Natalie Reyes' Dani Ramos. Gabriel Luna (Ghost Rider on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) co-stars as the latest killer machine, known as a Rev-9, an improved T-1000 that can split itself in two. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the one constant throughout all the films, also returns to play an aged version of the T-800.

Tim Miller (Deadpool) directed from a script by Justin Rhodes (RoboCop Returns), David S. Goyer (Batman v Superman), and Billy Ray (Overlord). Cameron helped conceive the central story that led to the screenplay.

The new Terminator's less-than-stellar box-office reception could be chalked up to the news of Cameron butting heads with Miller in the editing room, but that's just speculation at this point. Even with that revelation looming over the project's wide release, Dark Fate has received the best reviews in the franchise since T2 and currently holds a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Todd Phillips' Joker was bumped back down to second place, with $13.6 million domestically. Now in its sixth weekend, the dark character study of Gotham's most iconic villain has racked up $299 million in North America and $934 million globally. It is now the highest-grossing R-rated flick in cinematic history, nabbing the title away from 2016's Deadpool. The film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, is expected to cross the $1 billion mark in the coming weeks.

Joker Joaquin Phoenix

Disney's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil bewitched the third spot during "Halloweekend" with an additional $12 million from North American venues. Since it opened three weeks ago, the dark fantasy follow-up (helmed by Joachim Rønning) has accrued $84 million domestically and $299 million internationally. The project is still behind its predecessor's domestic three-weekend milestone of $163 million in 2014.

MGM's animated take on The Addams Family took fifth place with $8.5 million domestically. At home, the family-friendly release has made $85 million. With $11 million from foreign sales, the movie's global total stands at $90 million.

In 10th place, we have Arctic Dogs from Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, with a North American debut of $3.1 million. The animated effort features the voice talents of Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, James Franco, and Anjelica Huston.

Maleficent Addams Family Arctic Dogs

Other genre holdovers, like Zombieland: Double Tap and Countdown, didn't make enough this weekend to crack the Top 10.

(via Variety & Box Office Mojo)