How can we adjust the future? That is the question the Terminator movies are ultimately trying to answer. It also appears to be the question the current producers of the Terminator franchise are grappling with.
The latest installment in the franchise, Terminator: Genisys, had a disappointing run at the domestic box office, grossing only $90 million domestically against a production budget $155 million. Why not just wipe your hands of it, let the franchise be, and go off gracefully into the sunset, you ask? Because the film brought in $350 million internationally.
Speaking at a conference hosted by The Wrap, Skydance Media Chief Creative Officer Dana Goldberg had this to say about future plans for the franchise:
“I wouldn’t say on hold, so much as re-adjusting.”
The comments regarding the domestic numbers are interesting. A rather crass way of measuring a film’s financial success a few years ago was to see if it broke $100 million at the domestic box office, keeping its budget in mind. Terminator: Genisys didn’t even do that this summer. It would appear most people in the United States aren’t as nostalgic for a fifth or sixth Terminator movie. But Goldberg does make the point that others are:
“Happily, we live in the world where the domestic number had a level of importance 10 or 15 years ago — I’m not saying it’s not important, it is — but we have to play to a worldwide market. In terms of Terminator, the worldwide market paid attention, but we’re not taking the domestic number lightly.”
The importance of the international box office market has led to studios now actively creating content that specifically reflects and draws in international audiences. This is both a good and bad practice— good in the sense that it can make movies more diverse and inclusive, and bad in that when trying to please everyone, you please no one, or you lose an audience to gain another.
Luckily it seems Skydance has Skynet at their disposal to make it better, as Goldberg says the company will be actively researching what audiences responded to in Genisys:
“[We will use] data and research to do a worldwide study and really talk to audiences about what they loved, and what maybe didn’t work for them, so that the next we take with the franchise is the right one.”
This will push back any plans for the next phase of the Terminator-verse. The future will just have to wait.