“Terminator: Dark Fate” Kills the Franchise Dead


November 1-3, 2019

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)


Terminator: Dark Fate  $29 million
Joker  $13.9 million
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil  $12.1 million
Harriet  $12 million
The Addams Family  $8.4 million

Terminator: Dark Fate may have taken the top spot at the box office – something the last two films weren't able to do – but with a lousy $29 million, that's enough to probably kill the franchise for good. While the film was certainly the best thing in this series since 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 15 years of getting burned by subpar sequels has turned audiences off for life. Paramount's got to be reeling from this one.

Joker stayed at the No. 2 spot, and it's closing in on more than $1 billion worldwide and just a few bucks shy of $300 million domestic, putting it ahead of all but the biggest Marvel movies. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil dropped to third place, and it's still struggling. It's likely to end up with around the same gross as The Addams Family, which is pretty dire when you consider how big Disney's marketing machine is to United Artists, which hasn't had a hit all year.

Harriet was the strongest of the non-action debuts. Exceeding expectations, the historical drama debuted with $12 million. That's a higher gross than practically all of director Kasi Lemmons' previous efforts put together. The film will likely play well through Thanksgiving, and especially as Focus Features pushes Cynthia Erivo for a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The Addams Family finished in fifth place. I know an animated movie that opened this weekend that would have killed for that.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Jojo Rabbit reigns supreme once again, averaging $9,378 as it expanded to 256 screens.
  • Motherless Brooklyn is without parents and without an audience. Edward Norton's adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel disappeared almost immediately, taking in a truly dreadful $3.6 million, marking another horrendous opening for Warner Bros.
  • But that was still better than Arctic Dogs, an animated movie that included such brilliant dialogue as, "It smells like the planet made a poopie." It wasn't a Delgo-level disaster, but $3.1 million on more than 2,800 screens is an awful showing no matter how you look at it.

Next week:

Four major releases, and three of them aren't going to look so hot at the end of the weekend. I still think Doctor Sleep should have taken advantage of the spooky season and opened on October 25, but what do I know? The sequel to The Shining should open with a solid $35-40 million. That will be more than enough for No. 1 and to destroy its competition, which include the holiday rom-com Last Christmas, the latest Roland Emmerich explosion-fest Midway and the family comedy Playing with Fire.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.