Terminator is Back. Barely.

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terminator dark fate

Terminator: Dark Fate was as good as its name this weekend. Despite four new movies and a couple of strong holdovers, the latest chapter in this venerable franchise was thought to have little competition for the top spot: It was almost fated to be the weekend’s highest-grossing flick. And sure enough, it was. But the numbers tell a darker story.

The Terminator franchise is several years older than some Plugged In staffers, and it’s beginning to show its age. Dark Fate earned just $29 million, according to earlier studio estimates—a metallic finger better than 2015’s Terminator Genisys if the numbers hold up. But keep in mind, this was the same franchise that set the 1991 box office ablaze with Terminator 2: Judgment Day. That flick earned $31.8 million in its opening weekend, and that was in the days when you could buy a whole movie theater for, like, a couple of bucks. (I exaggerate, but you get the idea.) And while Dark Fate tried to take a turn back to Terminator’s roots (sporting an R rating like the first three installments), it doesn’t seem as if it was enough to rekindle widespread passion for the brand. Sure, some people are still interested, but the broader culture seems to have already told Terminator hasta la vista, baby.

Still, like its notorious antagonist, the franchise seems nearly impossible to kill. My guess is that it’ll be back.

Joker, Warner Bros.’ dark origin story for DC’s Clown Prince of Crime, finished No. 2 this weekend with $13.9 million. In five weeks, the Joaquin Phoenix-fronted flick has never finished worse than second. And it’s now just a green hair away from crossing the $300 million mark in North America. (It’s total domestic gross clocks in at $299.6 million.) Add in the $634.4 million it has earned overseas, and Joker’s collected $934 million. The flick’s got a real shot to clear $1 billion worldwide before it’s done laughing.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil also seems to be holding up well, after a bit of a shaky start. It banked $12.2 million this weekend, pushing its total domestic tally to $84.3 million. That pushed Harriet, the weekend’s other new contender, to fourth. The Harriet Tubman biopic squirreled away $12 million in about 2,000 theaters.

The Addams Family closed out the top five with $8.5 million. That helped to leave a couple of other newcomers, Motherless Brooklyn ($3.7 million, ninth place) and Arctic Dogs ($3.1 million, 10th place) out in the cold. Dog days indeed.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 15 days ago
I saw Little Mermaid live last night and except for the sound of the live performances not being quite loud enough for my tastes I absolutely loved it. The movie itself sparkled and shone like never before with an absolutely outstanding remastering job done to it, and the live scenes themselves were quite creatively done with some nice little extras thrown in for good measure. It was a different experience from say seeing the live-action remakes of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, or The Lion King on a big movie theater screen, but the effect was still pretty cool anyway, and surprisingly it made me enjoy Disney's original version even more than I had already.
Anonymous 16 days ago
I haven't been to a theater since August, when I saw the criminally underrated Blinded By the Light, but I know I'll be going this weekend to see Last Christmas. A soundtrack by George Michael and Wham, who wouldn't love that?
Anonymous 17 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I think audiences have moved on from the Terminator franchise. The last three from what I've heard aren't particularly good, and when they finally gave us a movie that was actually pretty decent, audiences just didn't care. More likely than not, people are saving their money for Frozen II, Jumanji: The Next Level and/or The Rise of Skywalker.

Also, I'm very impressed by Joker's box office results! Never would I thought that a movie about the Joker (and without Batman) would make this much money, and without China helping it out! It would be very interesting to see Joker top $1 billion by the end of its run, as it would mark the 2nd time the Joker made $1 billion without China (the first time was with The Dark Knight).
seraph_unsung 17 days ago
It would also likely be the first such billion for an R-rated movie.  I'm planning on seeing it soon.  I do hope "The Passion" keeps the all-time domestic record, though.