With Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the saddle of the popular “Terminator” franchise for its fifth sequel, expectations were high that fans of the series would come running back. After a stumble with 2009’s “Terminator: Salvation,” was there redemption in sight for the “Terminator?”
Deadline reports the latest Schwarzenegger movie netted over $74 million at the international box office. The outlet said it was the best debut for the action star to-date, with “Genisys” dominating 28 overseas markets at the top box office spot. But was it really all good news?
As Deadline noted, “Terminator: Salvation” scored the majority of its box office overseas. “Genisys” may likely do the same if “Jurassic World” and “Inside Out” continue to battle it out over U.S. audiences. But how does the fifth “Terminator” movie measure against its previous models?
Going back to the start of James Cameron’s sci-fi series shows a slightly different story. When the original “Terminator” was released in 1984 the relatively small production ($6.4 million at the time, reports Box Office Mojo) nearly earned its budget back opening weekend at $4 million, which adjusted for inflation would make it around a $9 million draw. That’s still relatively small when compared to the domestic take for “Genisys,” just over $28 million for the third spot at the box office.
“Terminator” ticket sales were split almost 50/50 between domestic and international audiences in 1984, according to Box Office Mojo. But that changed when “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” roared into theaters on the 4th of July weekend in 1991. Then, American audiences were only 40 percent of the film’s total box office of $519 million or $907 million in 2015 amounts. The overseas component has been a crucial part of the “Terminator” franchise’s success, and future sequels would probably not be possible if it wasn’t for the series’ international success.
The franchise also began to pick-up steam from its newly built-in audience. “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” earned $31 million domestically during its opening weekend in 1991, or about $55 million when adjusted for inflation. The 2003 sequel “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” made similar business with $44 million ($56 million adjusted) from U.S. theaters.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger busy with politics, the iconic star of the franchise skipped on “Terminator 4: Salvation.” The 2009 movie opened in May to only $42 million or just around $47 million. Which should make the relatively low turnout for “Genisys” potentially worrisome for Paramount execs unless the international markets can make-up for the U.S.’ steely reception.
U.S. ticket sales only summoned up $28 million for the fifth “Terminator” movie, but it’s unlikely the end of the franchise. “Salvation” made back its budget overseas with over 60 percent of the movie’s total gross. It’s possible that “Genisys” may see an even more dramatic shift towards international audiences. Until then, expect to see Schwarzenegger once more to say, “I’ll be back.”