Even China Couldn’t Save the ‘Terminator’ Series

When a studio says they’ve got plans for a big ongoing franchise, with sequels and TV shows and beyond, you should probably ignore them. That’s the kind of talk that sounds promising to fans and investors alike, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing unless the first movie in the proposed series – i.e. the one that really counts – actually makes money to begin with.

Case in point: Terminator Genisys, a big budget and high profile reboot of the iconic sci-fi series that talked a big game earlier this year, and then completely tanked. Alan Taylor’s $155 million franchise-starter earned only $89 million domestically, even less than the other noteworthy summer disappointment, Tomorrowland, which wound up with $93 million. And despite a last minute rally in China, where the film opened several months later to unexpected success, the box office haul for Terminator Genisys seems to have topped out at $440 million worldwide.

Related: The Genisys Effect: Or, How Marketing Can Be The Filmmakers’ Fault

That may sound like a tidy profit to an outsider, but Hollywood rarely includes marketing costs when reporting any movie’s budget, so when all is said and done, Terminator Genisys probably barely broke even. That’s why Hollywood Reporter is now reporting (from Hollywood) that broader franchise plans for Terminator are currently “on hold indefinitely.”

Thtat’s bad news for fans of Terminator Genisys but good news for the many audience members across the world who thought it sucked a lot. And since the rights to the Terminator series will revert back to James Cameron in 2019 (he originally sold them for one dollar… yes, really), that doesn’t give Paramount much time to milk the Terminator series for more money in the interim. Indeed, if the franchise is in fact “on hold indefinitely,” the odds of Paramount producing more of these movies before they lose the franchise altogether get smaller with every passing month.

They say there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. That’s why they probably should have made a better Terminator movie.

Top Image: Paramount

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.