“Dark Fate” May Have Terminated Franchise With $29 Million Debut

The year is quickly drawing to a close and with the holiday movie season nearly in full swing and films like “Frozen II”, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” all on the way and numerous potential Oscar contenders seeking to earn attention the competition is going to get interesting over these next two months. This past weekend things started with a sort of whimper however as the latest film in the “Terminator” franchise opened to a tragically underwhelming response while holdovers continued to thrive. Let’s see where things ended up in the first Box Office Breakdown of November 2019.


“Terminator: Dark Fate” led the way in its opening weekend scoring a number one debut that turned out to be bittersweet. Yes, it was the most watched movie in the country over the weekend but it’s paltry $29 million debut from a franchise record 4,086 theaters is only a little higher than the previous installment, “Terminator: Genisys”, and is well below estimates that saw potential for a gross in the high $30 million to low $40 million range. The sequel, which serves as the “true” third film in the franchise retconning the previous three sequels out of the main timeline, also earned $102 million overseas. Sadly “Dark Fate” seems to have terminated hopes for its own franchise since the production cost around $185 million to make, plus almost $100 million in global marketing, and is in line to be the third straight “Terminator” movie with underwhelming box office revenue. The previous film, “Genysis”, only made around $90 million domestically with a slightly lower debut meaning that “Dark Fate” is already being considered a massive bomb for Paramount, Skydance and Disney’s Fox banner who all co-financed the film. If you’re interested in reading my thoughts of “Dark Fate” you can do so by clicking here.


“Dark Fate” was followed by two holdovers in second and third. “Joker” continued to be one of the year’s biggest films raking in another $13.5 million after barely losing out on a return to the top last week to “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” which fell to third after a two-week reign on top. You have to drop to fourth to find the next new entry in the top ten for the weekend, “Harriet”. The biopic of the famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman earned respectable reviews on route to an $11.6 million weekend which is actually above the $8 million estimates industry experts predicted. You can read my review of this biopic from over the weekend by clicking here. “The Addams Family” continued to show impressive staying power remaining in the top five. Spots six through eight were all holdovers with “Zombieland: Double Tap” and “Countdown” falling from the top five. “Black and Blue” fell two spots to eighth. Rounding out the top ten were two new films that landed with resounding thuds. The promising “Motherless Brooklyn”, which was produced for a meager $26 million, earned only $3.6 million to barely enter the top ten in ninth while Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures’ first animated movie, “Arctic Dogs”, also barely earned a top ten spot with a $2.9 million debut. Overall the four new entries in the top ten displaced “The Lighthouse”, “Gemini Man”, “The Current War” and “Abominable”.


Next week will be one to watch as “Dark Fate’ will almost assuredly be defeated with an absolutely overwhelming number of new releases on the way. Among the bigger films on the docket are “Doctor Sleep”, the sequel to “The Shining” that has already received great reviews, “Last Christmas”, and “Midway”. The family friendly “Playing with Fire” will also release along with the Chinese film “Better Days” receiving its domestic release after earning over $82.2 million overseas to date. We shall see which one wins what promises to be an exciting charge to the finish.

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