Brow Beat

Terminator: Dark Fate Flops (in This Timeline)

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton in a still from Terminator: Dark Fate.
It made how much? Paramount

The Terminator franchise may have finally arrived at Judgment Day, at least in our current timeline. Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth feature film in the series, earned only $29 million in domestic box office over the weekend, virtually guaranteeing the film will be a huge money loser for Paramount, Skydance, and 20th Century Fox Disney, the companies that co-produced it. While director Tim Miller’s entry in the long-running series earned $102 million abroad, that number was also a disappointment. Analysts believe Terminator: Dark Fate would have to pull in $450 million worldwide in order to break even, and right now it’s on track to earn about $200 million. That’s despite Linda Hamilton returning to the franchise for the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2, plus Mackenzie Davis and her deltoids. Industry analysts attribute the surprisingly low box office to the franchise’s age but cannot rule out sabotage from time-traveling cybernetic development executives in the employ of rival studios.

We don’t yet know whether we ended up on this timeline because people in the future sent back too many Terminators or not enough Terminators, but one thing is certain: At some point, whichever media conglomerate eventually absorbs Hollywood in this timeline is going to send another Terminator back to 2019 in hopes of reversing these box-office results. If they succeed, our entire timeline will be orphaned, causing the strong nuclear force to slowly decay until every atom in the universe in which Terminator: Dark Fate flopped just sort of drifts apart. Worse still, in our excruciating last moments, we’ll know—not assume, know—that the cybernetic assassins sent back in time on behalf of the Walt Disney Company must have successfully created a new timeline in which Terminator: Dark Fate succeeds, leading to more Terminator movies, dozens of Terminator movies, thousands of Terminator movies, every last one a box-office smash, every last one impossible to view in our timeline thanks to the laws of quantum physics and Disney’s draconian theatrical booking policies. Then we will weep bitter tears, each of us Moses at Mount Pisgah, knowing the promised land of Terminator movies exists, knowing that we shall not go over thither, even as the very atoms in our bodies disintegrate and gravity fails for the first and last time.

Second place was Joker, with $13.9 million in domestic box office.