'Terminator: Dark Fate' Box Office Estimates Now Lower Than Projected

Last month, box office analysts were projecting that Terminator: Dark Fate could end up with a record opening weekend, hauling in somewhere in the $40-plus million range. Turns out those estimates were a bit...generous. Because now that the latest Terminator movie has opened in advance previews, it looks like the Dark Fate box office is going to be a bit lower than projected.

What a difference a few weeks makes. In early October, I wrote up a story about Terminator: Dark Fate tracking towards a $40-plus million opening weekend, which would've put it on track to break previous franchise record holder, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which opened at $44 million. Now, however, on the weekend of the movie's release, analysts suggest it might not even hit $30 million.

THR says that the film opened with $2.35 million in Thursday previews, which indicates it's on track for a $28 million opening weekend. So what happened? Perhaps fatigue. Early reactions for Dark Fate started off strong, but they also started rolling in on October 20, almost two full weeks before release. Whenever a film launches its early reactions that early it can trip some folks up and cause confusion. Case in point: it already feels like the conversation around Dark Fate is over, even though it just opened.

Of course, that sort of logic only applies to film fans who obsess over this stuff. The average, casual moviegoer doesn't pay attention to such things. Still, the reviews that eventually arrived for the film were mixed at best (it's sitting at a just-barely-fresh 68% on Rotten Tomatoes as of now). That could certainly deflate some excitement. Then you have to factor in the knowledge that Dark Fate is the latest entry in an altogether lopsided franchise. Most can agree that Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are great movies. Classics, even. But everything after that? Not so much.

Perhaps the lesson here is that Hollywood should just stop making Terminator sequels. Then again, things could turn out differently after the weekend ends. Maybe Dark Fate will end up surpassing these now-adjusted expectations and be a bigger hit after all. Or, if you're lucky enough to live in one of the very few places playing The Irishman in theaters this weekend, you should probably go see that instead.