Terminator: Dark Fate falls short of expectations, still wins weekend with $29 million opening
When Arnold Schwarzenegger said “I’ll be back,” in 1984’s The Terminator, he meant it.
Thirty-five years later, Schwarzenegger returns to the role that made him a star, as T-800 in the franchise’s sixth installment Terminator: Dark Fate for a weak box office victory with an estimated $29 million opening. The box office battle between Joker and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil continued this week, with the Joaquin Phoenix-led drama taking the second spot ($14 million) and the Angelina Jolie fantasy film in third (12.2 million).
Schwarzenegger didn’t top the box office single-handedly. Linda Hamilton also returns to reprise the role of Sarah Connor — her fourth time stepping into the role for the big screen. Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, who reunited to play these roles together after 28 years, were joined by franchise newcomers Gabriel Luna, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, and Mackenzie Davis.
In Dark Fate, Connor and a hybrid cyborg human (Davis) must protect a young woman named Dani Ramos (Reyes) from a newly modified liquid Terminator known as Rev-9 (Luna). Schwarzenegger and Hamilton’s re-teaming was expected to draw a larger audience, but the gleam might be off their pairing. Still, Dark Fate made more than the original Terminator did in 1984, which opened to $4 million domestically — roughly $19.8 million in today’s dollars, adjusting for inflation. Its 1991 follow-up Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a certified blockbuster, opening to a whopping $31.8 million, outpacing the newest title even without adjusting for inflation.
The previous entry in the franchise, Terminator Genisys, saw the return of Schwarzenegger but no Hamilton in 2015, and it opened even lower, earning $27 million during its first weekend.
The Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet took the fourth slot, earning an estimated $12 million, according to Comscore. Led by Cynthia Erivo, the film tells the story of the slave-turned-abolitionist who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad. The film costars Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monáe, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and Jennifer Nettles.
EW gave the drama a B, saying, “If its aim to inspire and educate inevitably leaves the movie feeling a little classroom-bound, Harriet is still an impassioned, edifying portrait of a remarkable life, and a fitting showcase for the considerable talents of its star, Tony-winning British actress Cynthia Erivo.”
Viewers gave the Kasi Lemmons-directed film an A+ Cinemascore.
Another new release, Edward Norton‘s Motherless Brooklyn, opened in eighth place with an estimated $3.7 million in ticket sales. The crime drama tells the story of Lionel Essrog (Norton), a private investigator with Tourette’s syndrome tasked with solving his mentor Frank Minna’s (Bruce Willis) murder in 1957 New York.
The film is a passion project for Norton, who has been working on bringing it to the big screen since acquiring in 1998 the rights to adapt Jonathan Lethem’s novel of the same name. After multiple delays — including the accidental death of a firefighter when a fire broke out in the cellar of a building in which they were filming in 2018 — the film was completed after a 46-day shoot.
Motherless Brooklyn debuted at the 2019 Telluride Festival, around 20 years after Norton started his journey.
The weekend’s final new title, Arctic Dogs, narrowly cleared the top 10, taking the tenth spot with an estimated $3.2 million. The animated film follows mailroom worker Arctic Fox (Jeremy Renner) who has dreams of becoming Top Dog of the husky couriers. As he works to prove he is worthy, audiences will join him on an adventure where he’ll meet characters including John Cleese’s Otto Von Walrus.
Closing out the top five is The Addams Family, which made an estimated $8.5 million in its fourth week in theaters.
Overall, box office is down 5.2 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the Oct. 25-27 numbers below:
- Terminator: Dark Fate—$29 million
- Joker — $14 million
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil — $12.2 million
- Harriet — $12 million
- The Addams Family — $8.5 million
- Zombieland 2: Double Tap — $7.4 million
- Countdown — $5.9 million
- Black and Blue — $4.1 million
- Motherless Brooklyn — $3.7 million
- Arctic Dogs — $3.1 million
- Terminator: Dark Fate star Natalia Reyes on being proud of Dani’s future, film’s diversity
- New Terminator Gabriel Luna is living out his childhood dream with Dark Fate
- Cynthia Erivo brings an American icon to imperfect life in earnest biopic Harriet
- Edward Norton on challenges of portraying character with Tourette syndrome in Motherless Brooklyn
- Motherless Brooklyn review: Edward Norton’s moody 1950s detective tale is thinking-man’s pulp