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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘TERMINATOR DARK FATE – Terminated by Franchise Fatigue’


There’s no avoiding that Terminator: Dark Fate was a flop. Within two days of its release, the writing was not only on the wall, but in print. Outlets like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter pegged it to lose upward of $100 million. That projection was due, in no small part, to Dark Fate‘s abysmal opening. It made just $131 million worldwide in its premiere weekend.

No amount of foresight or heroics from the future could prevent the disaster ahead. To date, it’s grossed a lousy $258 million and change worldwide; that is over $180 million less than Genisys—its poorly received and reviewed predecessor (71% on Rotten Tomatoes versus 29%).

For those of us that bothered to see the movie, it’s a bummer. Dark Fate is not a perfect Terminator film; it is the most worthy followup to what many would consider the franchise’s pinnacle, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, though. And it was billed as a direct sequel to it, ignoring the other two reboots and the one pseudo-sequel that had come before it.

It’s no small coincidence then that this movie’s biggest hurdle was in righting the wrongs of its own past. Thus, even with James Cameron returning to produce (he also wrote the story) and the reinsertion of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, who’s again brilliant in the role, there was just too much baggage for it to overcome.

The general public’s interest in the property had been terminated. Yet if you’re reading this, then it’s not too late. In just over a month, the film will come to home release. As I state on the pod, I’m not sure we needed this movie, but we got it; and unlike past iterations, Dark Fate is able to effectively build on the connection of Sarah Connor and the T-800 in thought provoking ways.

So my gripes with it aside, it is worth seeing. Arnold, who was built to play this machine, is terrific as always. And series newbie Mackenzie Davis brings a physicality to her portrayal of Grace that rivals the ever-intimidating Hamilton. 

Couple those performances with some top-tier action sequences, and you get a popcorn movie that delivers on both its promise and history.

So sit back, crack open a Sticky Stout from Red Hare Brewing, and come with us if you want to live! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and Chumpzilla are hurdling back through time to prevent the seemingly inevitable judgement day!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – In what could be the end of this storied series for the foreseeable future, we discuss what worked/didn’t work about Dark Fate; choose what concepts from each Terminator film we’d keep; rank each of the entries; and more.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and the “Hasta La Vista” Terminator Franchise Cyberdyne Systems Quiz – We discuss Tim Miller’s enlightening interview post-flop. Then I challenge Chumpzilla with trivia encompassing the entirety of the Terminator franchise. (52:16)
  • Recommendations – We close the show with our picks for the week (mine is a delightfully bad Italian Terminator knock off from the 80s Hands of Steel). In addition, we preview our very festive Christmas episode—Jingle All the Way. (1:19:04)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—the insane casting what ifs and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!


Thomas L. Kelly

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