I’d be shocked to find that Terminator Genisys was anyone’s favorite Terminator film. I thought the movie was an utter joke, so I’m not surprised by today’s news about the possible cancellation of its sequel (which was currently maintaining the blasphemous title Terminator 2).
To be fair, Paramount has only removed the film from its release schedule, so this isn’t a definitive cancellation but it’s a big step in that direction. Terminator Genisys was a failure both narratively and financially… well, here in the States at least. The movie couldn’t even crack $90 million in America, but its foreign grosses totaled nearly four times its domestic take. Its worldwide appeal was the driving force behind getting a sequel made, but it’s possible even that luster has started to fade.
The Terminator films just haven’t been able to break out from under James Cameron’s massive shadow, and maybe the franchise needs to acknowledge that. The original film (one of my top ten favorite ’80s movies) was bold and brash when it hit the scene in 1984, but even the excellent sequel that came out in 1991 showcased a lack of innovation when it came to the plot. By the time the formula was repeated yet again in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, people were starting to catch on that the people behind the series might not know what to do. It’s a shame Terminator Salvation lost a lot of its edge by the time it hit the big screen; that film had the potential to take the franchise in a risky new direction, but it was foiled by behind-the-scenes egos and a trepidation at fouling the nest.
Is the next step for the Terminator universe a reboot? Terminator Genisys was an attempt at doing this but within the series’ own continuity (much like Star Trek did in the 2009 film), but it only added to the convolution on screen. Arnie isn’t getting any younger either, so the future for everyone’s favorite cybernetic assassin might involve a brand new model. At this point, maybe that’s what we need.