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.