‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Wipes Out With $29 Million Box Office Opening

Sixth installment shows little improvement over 2015 predecessor “Terminator: Genisys”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Linda Hamilton Terminator Dark Fate(1)

It’s another disappointing weekend at the box office for Paramount, as “Terminator: Dark Fate” was a dud at the box office with a $29 million opening from 4,086 screens, according to industry estimates. That’s not much better than the opening for the film’s July 2015 predecessor “Terminator: Genisys,” which opened to $27 million.

This similar result is despite the return of series creator James Cameron as producer and original “Terminator” star Linda Hamilton, as well as marketing that heavily sold the film as a direct sequel to the beloved “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” while ignoring the less popular films that came after. It’s also in spite of improved reception for “Dark Fate” with a 85% audience score and a 69% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. “Genisys,” by comparison, had a 53% audience score and a 27% critics score.

The silver lining for Paramount is that it is only on the books for 30% of the film’s $185 million budget. Skydance and 20th Century Fox each provided 30% co-financing, with Fox handling overseas distribution. Tencent, which provided 10% co-financing, is handling distribution in China. The film performed well below expectations in China with just $28 million. With $44 million grossed in other overseas territories, the global opening for “Dark Fate” stands at $101.9 million.

Despite this cost sharing, “Terminator: Dark Fate” is likely to fizzle out at the box office, as the upcoming November slate has several films that will siphon away this action film’s core adult demographic. We are already seeing that with Warner Bros.’ “Joker,” which grossed just under $14 million this weekend and will hit $300 million domestic after five weekends. WB will send in another film for millennial and Gen X audiences next weekend with “Doctor Sleep,” a horror sequel to “The Shining” that will likely be another competitor to “Dark Fate.”

Taking third behind “Terminator” and “Joker” this weekend is Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” with $12.2 million grossed in its third weekend to bring its total to $85 million. Just behind it is Focus Features’ “Harriet,” which was released this weekend with $7-9 million projections and overperformed with a $12 million opening from 2,059 screens. The Harriet Tubman biopic has earned a sterling A+ from CinemaScore to go with a 73% score from Rotten Tomatoes.

United Artists/MGM’s “The Addams Family” completes the top 5 with $8.7 million in its fourth weekend and an $85 million total. Opening much further down the charts are Warner Bros.’ “Motherless Brooklyn” and Entertainment Studios’ “Arctic Dogs.” “Motherless Brooklyn” opened to $3.6 million from 1,382 screens while “Arctic Dogs” opened to $3.1 million from 2,844 screens.

Both totals are below box office expectations and just barely beat the numbers of NEON’s “Parasite,” which is still surging in limited release with $2.6 million grossed this weekend from just 461 screens.