04 November 2019 2350 Views

Stop calling Dark Fate a Flop! The film still has Legs and is Doing Just Fine. It’s not been Terminated..Yet!

by James Murphy

When is a fine opening weekend a Flop? When it has impossibly high standards to meet. And when the Haters want it to Flop!


It opened to around $29 million. It was #1 at the Box Office. HOW is that a ‘flop’?

Well, ok. It’s not record breaking. It will not green-light sequels, that’s for sure. But it’s hardly a complete failure. Face the facts:

  • It’s NOT Star Wars! This was a dormant, neglected, over-rebooted brand. And its restoration was a revisit OF its independent film-making roots? 
  • This was not headlined by huge names. Yes, Schwarzenegger is a big name but he’s less of a Box Office force, given he now devotes much time to activism and was not front and centre of the action here.

  • Linda Hamilton and Mackenzie Davis front the film. They MIGHT become big attraction names after this film, but cannot ‘open’ movies yet. Applaud the girl power; do not fight it or see it as ‘woke’ etc. A sixty year old woman and all but unknown younger counterpart formed a kind of sci fi Thelma and Louise.
  • And they never emasculated Arnie. It’s progress! Emancipation need not be sinister. It fitted the themes and plot rather than hiding their absence unlike other franchises that DO adopt gender politics etc as cover for lack of substance.

  • Sure, it may ‘flop’ on paper. That’s a STUDIO mistake: giving far too much cash to a mismanaged marketing vision. This should and could have been a sleeper hit on a budget.
  • Jim Cameron was involved, ok. But not involved enough. One never truly got a sense he was invested in this, however much he protested. Either go hands on, or don’t. But he seems a happier, nicer, more approachable sort of bloke these days so it was just great to see him out there promoting a non Avatar product. Now give us our True Lies Blu Ray! I love Suzy Amis, btw and your vegan crusade is inspirational!

  • There was not enough ‘new’ here? This was not an effective reboot or retooling or reinvention but just a thinly veiled remake. Entertaining. Sure. But HOW this film had a team of writers on it and lacked the creativity to BOTH echo the core tone of the original two films (accomplished, imho) AND give us satisfying new mythology (not achieved) is a mystery.
  • Tim Miller did the product no favours: peppering every second sentence with gratuitous expletives and anticipating a backlash that he in effect made happen as self fulfilling prophecy.

  • John Connor: what they did with him, even as a logical move, was a mistake in tone and perception and good will.
  • Previous sequels had damaged the brand, as did the lack of interaction with said sequels; overlapping ideas / images /motifs yet a claim of no connection. Confused?!
  • They should have gone with the ‘Arnie as the old scientist who accidentally creates a new Skynet’ pitch (my idea..sorta!). They still could..an amazon /netflix show, maybe? Do it cheaply; heck no need to even call it ‘Terminator’ or connect it to the mythology. Just trade on the tropes!


  • Remember, in days of yore, when there was straight to video content? Same idea, here. Actors sometimes revisited old roles with diminishing returns (Charles Bronson, Death Wish 5; Michael Caine: Harry Palmer). The clever ones USED the old imagery but in NEW parts / films (Sean Connery in The Rock; Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State: the former is basically James Bond, senior and the latter a secret revisit of The Conversation). Arnold can still do same with his T800 persona?

Above all? A bunch of wallies out there are trumpeting the fact that JOKER did better and continues to be the HIGHEST GROSSING R RATED FILM EVER! Well done. Rejoice in the fact that a nihilistic, adolescent, Scorsese wannabe, DC IP that could not fail, fronted by actor who frankly can do that in his sleep..is outdoing a film that in a weird way (ie a TERMINATOR) way..gave a small scintilla of..hope. 


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