Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth installment of the long-running sci-fi franchise originated by James Cameron in 1984, also marks the third attempt at rebooting the series in the last decade. Even with almost three decades’ worth of inflation taken into account, Terminator 2 still ranks as the highest-grossing entry, and early box office projections indicate that Dark Fate likely won’t be able to snatch away the crown from the all-time classic action blockbuster.
The movie isn’t exactly being predicted to bomb though, with Dark Fate set to open between $35m and $45m. While that’s higher than Terminator Genisys, which only managed to earn $27m during its debut weekend, those numbers are still lower than Salvation’s $42.6m and Rise of the Machines‘ $44m. However, Dark Fate has a key marketing hook that these other movies didn’t. Namely, the return of both James Cameron and Linda Hamilton to the franchise.
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The Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind Titanic and Avatar may no longer be the director of the highest-grossing movie of all-time for the first time in over 20 years, but Cameron still has name value at the box office. His heavily-publicized involvement in Alita: Battle Angel was said to be one of the reasons why the manga adaptation managed to cross the $400m mark globally, and with the Terminator brand much more recognizable among casual audiences, Dark Fate could be set to eclipse that number.
Most projects that have Cameron involved in some capacity tend to fare much better internationally as well, and the Terminator franchise also has previous precedent for this, with almost 80% of the Genisys’ total takings coming from overseas markets. The domestic box office is no longer the defining factor in whether a Hollywood blockbuster is a success or a failure, and if Dark Fate proves to be popular in places like China, then it has every chance to at least become the second most lucrative installment in the franchise.