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We were warned back in 1984 that Arnie’s original terminator, the T-800, would be back. Sure enough, more than 30 years after the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned to the screen as one of the most iconic cyborgs of all time. Coming back for the fifth film installment, he reprises his role in what has become nothing short of a cultural phenomenon encompassing not only the films but also a television series, several reprisals in graphic novel and comic form, and a slew of video games based on the films.
Although James Cameron, who directed and co-wrote the first two sci-fi classics, did not direct or provide any other input into the making of Terminator Genisys, he has stated in interviews that he feels this film is the true third film in the franchise, discounting both the third and the fourth films. In , the third and fourth films did not live up to what he considered the “big idea” of the first two – an idea that he feels is being picked up again for this latest installment.
Financially, culturally, and critically, the films seem to be in agreement with Cameron’s take on the overall franchise. While all the films were well received in theaters and considered box office successes, the profit margin on the first two films, as well as the critical reception and cultural impact, far outpaced the second pair.
When approached for this latest installment in the Terminator franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that he was willing to consider it but would have to see the script first. Upon review of said script, he felt that it was well-written and paid proper respect to the original movie, so he was on board, and willing to work hard physically and mentally to get back into the iconic role from the 1980’s.
Unfortunately this reboot, in what seems to be a summer of reboots, has received less than stellar reviews from both critics and the general public. Reception of the film has been lukewarm at best, with many saying it was a likeable enough addition to the franchise, however the Terminator saga itself is tired and obsolete. The roles played by Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and others which helped drive the film’s initial success are now worn out and ready for retirement.
As far as box office numbers go, this wasn’t a huge hit – a fact that some have attributed to competition from the success of Jurassic World, also currently in theaters. The latter film absorbed much of the audience base which may have gone for Terminator Genysis, were it not so redundant.
And yet regardless of how well the movie ends up doing in its theater run, it seems certain that the rehashing of popular 80’s films and franchises will continue, given the lengthy list of movies currently in line for a remake. Many of these classic films have sustained popularity due to the success of online and premium TV packages, which keep old plotlines alive in the minds of viewers. Considering the fact that Ghostbusters, Sister Act, and even Police Academy are already cleared for relaunch, it appears as though the “Terminator” isn’t the only character destined to haunt viewers in the afterlife.
Whether this new Terminator movie will be the beginning of a new trilogy, only time and the final gross box office amounts will likely tell, since the bottom line for any business, the film industry included, is whether a project can ultimately be expected to turn a profit. As such, it may not be forever until Arnold comes back again – again.