"Terminator: Dark Fate," the latest sequel to the "Terminator" franchise that brought back the original stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, made $2.35 million in previews on Thursday night. It opens on approximately 4,000 screens this weekend.
As November kicks off, "Terminator: Dark Fate" is one of four titles opening in wide release this weekend. Warner Bros. has the noir film "Motherless Brooklyn" starring Edward Norton, Focus Features has "Harriet," the Harriet Tubman biopic starring Cynthia Erivo, and Entertainment Studios has the animated "Arctic Dogs." Additionally, Netflix is releasing Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" into limited theaters beginning this weekend.
"Dark Fate," though, is aiming to prevent Judgment Day yet again and bring the "Terminator" franchise back to life, with the studio projecting an opening between $35-40 million behind a $185 million budget. It would have to overperform to $45 million to become the highest opening for a Terminator film, ahead of 2003's "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." "T2: Judgment Day" however is the highest performing of all the films in the franchise, having earned $520 million worldwide.
The last time a Thursday preview opening coincided with Halloween was in 2013 with the release of "Enders Game." It made $1.4 million in previews from an 8 p.m. start time and ultimately opened to $27 million for the weekend.
While the previous "Terminator" film, "Terminator: Genisys" from 2015, didn't have Hamilton, it did have Schwarzenegger. It performed on par with "Dark Fate's" start, grossing $2.3 million on a Tuesday night ahead of Fourth of July, but opened to just $27 million. Earlier this month, Paramount's "Gemini Man," another expensive action film, struggled at the box office and made only $1.6 million in previews before opening to only $20.5 million.
Hamilton and Schwarzenegger team up with Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta in the sci-fi sequel. Tim Miller directed the film and did so with the involvement of James Cameron as a story writer and consultant with the aim of making this film a true sequel to "Judgment Day."
"Motherless Brooklyn," starring, written by and directed by Edward Norton, is projected for only $5-9 million in its opening weekend against a $26 million budget. Norton's film is based on a novel by Jonathan Lethem, and he's assembled an impressive cast that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis, Bobby Cannavale and Willem Dafoe. It's set in the 1950s and is the story of a private detective with Tourette's syndrome working to solve the murder of his friend and mentor under the eye of a corrupt New York politician. The film has a 66% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Harriet," from Focus Features is projected to earn between $7.5-9 million from 2000+ screens, and the film made $600,000 in its Thursday night previews. It currently has a 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Kasi Lemmons directs the biopic that also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn and Janelle Monáe.
Finally, "Arctic Dogs" is opening on 2,844 screens this Friday but did not open in Thursday previews due to Halloween. The animated family film from Entertainment Studios stars Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, James Franco and Anjelica Huston as a group of animals on a mission to stop a devious plan to melt the Arctic. The film is projected for a $6-8 million opening and currently does not have a Rotten Tomatoes score.