Paramount’s “Terminator” franchise is back to rule box office charts.
“Terminator: Dark Fate,” the sixth installment in the sci-fi series, should earn $40 million when it bows in over 4,000 North American theaters, while some estimates show that figure could reach $47 million. Though it will launch against three other nationwide releases, “Dark Fate” is expected to easily win the weekend over fellow new offerings: Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” Warner Bros.’ crime drama “Motherless Brooklyn” and Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures’ animated adventure “Arctic Dogs.” All three anticipate debuts around $10 million.
Should “Terminator” reach the higher end of estimates, “Dark Fate” would earn the distinction of the franchise’s biggest opening yet. That title currently belongs to 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” ($44 million), followed by 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” ($42.5 million). The most recent entry, 2015’s “Terminator Genisys” bowed with $27 million and ended its box office run with $89.7 million in North America and $440 million globally. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is still the highest-grossing iteration with $520 million in worldwide box office receipts.
At least one aspect that should work in its favor: it’s the first franchise entry in 28 years, since “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” that has series creator James Cameron on board. In a sign of optimism, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called this movie “the first vital ‘Terminator’ sequel since ‘T2.'” “Terminator: Dark Fate” could use that kind of clout, since it carries a hefty $185 million price tag. Skydance Media co-financed and produced the film.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” also marks an on-screen reunion for Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger after nearly three decades, reprising their roles as Sarah Connor and the Terminator, respectively. In “Dark Fate,” Connor must protect a young girl from a deadly new Terminator from the future. Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) directed “Dark Fate” from a screenplay by David S. Goyer (“The Dark Knight,” “Blade”), Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray. New cast members include Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” kicked off overseas this weekend, earning $12 million at the international box office. Disney-Fox is releasing the movie in all foreign territories aside from China, where Tencent Pictures is handling distribution.
Though “Terminator: Dark Fate” should lead the way in North America, a handful of new releases will cater to audiences who aren’t all that interested in sci-fi spectacles.
“Motherless Brooklyn,” a neo-noir crime drama from Edward Norton, looks to entice older moviegoers and should collect $5 million to $9 million from 1,332 screens. Norton wrote, directed and stars in the movie, which cost $26 million. Based on Jonathan Lethem’s novel, Norton portrays a private investigator with Tourette syndrome who works to solve the murder of his mentor. Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale and Alec Baldwin also star.
Another option for adult ticket buyers, “Harriet,” is projected to earn $7.5 million to $9 million from 2,000 theaters. Cynthia Erivo portrays Harriet Tubman, the slave-turned-abolitionist who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The cast also includes Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn and Janelle Monae. Kasi Lemmons directed “Harriet,” which debuted to mixed reviews at the Toronto Film Festival. Variety’s Gleiberman called the movie “more dutiful than inspired.”
For the family crowd, there’s “Arctic Dogs,” an animated adventure about a team of ambitious animals. The film, featuring the voice cast of Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, James Franco and Anjelica Huston, could make $5 million to $10 million from 2,835 locations.