Audiences were understandably skeptic when it was announced that “Terminator: Genisys” would kick off a brand new trilogy for the franchise. Between “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” and “Terminator Salvation,” fans had grown to distrust the quality of the series. The actual release of “Terminator: Genisys” didn’t do much to inspire confidence. With a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film stands as the worst critically-received in the franchise, and with lackluster gross of $89 million, domestic audiences really seemed to have taken that bad word of mouth seriously.
But of course, we now live in a global world, and when the foreign box office receipts came in at over $350 million, it became clear that audiences were liking something about the film. Because of this fact, it was a bit surprising when David Ellison of Skydance Media said they were putting the franchise on indefinite hold. Now, it looks like that’s not necessarily the case.
At TheWrap’s 6th Annual Media Leadership Conference, Skydance chief creative officer Dana Goldberg painted a slightly different picture for the future of the franchise.
“In terms of ‘Terminator,’ the worldwide market paid attention. And we’re not taking the domestic number lightly necessarily. We’re going to do a worldwide study and really talk to audiences about ‘Terminator’ and what they loved, and maybe what didn’t work for them so that the next step we take with the franchise is the right one.”
The panel mediator then went on to ask Goldberg if the planned trilogy–as well as the TV show–were still on the table.
“We’ve always said from the moment that we announced it that audiences are the only ones who get to decide if you actually get to make the trilogy. It’s really up to themâ€¦Do we intend to have a next step with ‘Terminator?’ Yes we do. We are not going to begin production at the beginning of next year, because it would be silly not to listen to what audiences have to say, and adjust accordingly.”
So the franchise isn’t quite on hold indefinitely, but is taking some extra time to do the necessary market research to ensure the success of the next installment. This is both hopeful and concerning news.
While it’s great that the studio isn’t planning on blindly continuing with what DIDN’T work, taking the time and money to do research seems like a potential dead end. When it comes to filmmaking, if you try too hard to cater to the mass audience’s expectations, you’re likely to end up with a bland product, devoid of any real character or defining traits. Essentially, you end up with something that no one has a problem with, but that no one really loves, either.
I’m no studio head, but were it up to me, I’d cut the budget to under $20 million, find a talented filmmaker with a unique vision, and base the next steps on that. Of course, going with a great film and a commercial film are two completely different things, so who’s to say that would work out, either?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you like Skydance’s idea to poll audiences? If not, what would you do with the “Terminator” franchise (if you HAD to continue it)? Let us know in the comments down below!