BO Report: Sequel fatigue hits ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

‘Terminator: Dark Fate.’

The latest iterations of Maleficent, Godzilla, Men in Black, The Angry Birds and Rambo flopped or under-performed in cinemas this year and Terminator: Dark Fate is the latest victim of moviegoers’ sequel fatigue.

It might be an exaggeration to say the sixth edition of the franchise self-destructed but the opening figures in Australia, the US and 38 other markets last weekend weren’t pretty.

James Cameron’s name in the credits as one of the five “story by” writers and the novelty of seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton together on screen for the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day counted for very little.

Speaking of sequels no one wanted or asked for, Roadshow’s 47 Meters Down: Uncaged sank without trace, mirroring its US fate.

Meanwhile Transmission Films launched writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Brittany Runs a Marathon on 20 screens three weeks before the dramedy starts streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

The film starring Jillian Bell as a hard-partying New Yorker whose friend persuades her to enter the New York City Marathon fetched a decent $65,000 plus $95,000 from the Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals and Q&A screenings attended by Bell.

The major exhibitors are not happy with the breaching of the 90-day theatrical window, which began with David Michôd’s Netflix-financed The King.

The top 20 titles generated $11.3 million last weekend, a smidgen less than the previous frame according to Numero. Released by Disney which inherited the title from 21st Century Fox, Terminator: Dark Fate rang up $3.3 million, marginally better than the estimated US debut of $29 million.

Directed by Deadpool’s Tim Miller, who crossed swords with Cameron during the edit, the sequel collected $72.9 million in 48 offshore territories, raising the total to $123.6 million including the 10 markets which opened none too well the previous weekend.

With a reported production budget of $185 million it’s looming as a sizable loss for Fox, domestic distributor Paramount, Skydance and China’s Tencent – another dud for Paramount following Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.

After a four week reign, Todd Phillips’ Joker scored almost $1.9 million in its fifth frame, climbing to $35.4 million. The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios production has amassed a phenomenal $934 million worldwide and will surely reach $1 billion.

Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil advanced to $6.7 million after bagging $1.2 million in its third outing. The live-action spin-off of Sleeping Beauty directed by Joachim Ronning has mustered an anemic $84.3 million in the US but is proving more resilient internationally, clocking $299 million.

Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap nabbed $714,000 in its third, ascending to $4.7 million. Ruben Fleischer’s comedy horror starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin has grossed a nifty $59.3 million in the US.

Roadshow’s Hustlers stands at $8.2 million after making $655,000 in its fourth. Lorene Scafaria’s crime caper starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart and Cardi B is a hit in the US with $104.3 million, a handsome return on a $20 million budget.

Transmission’s Ride Like a Girl is showing great legs, easing by just 15 per cent to $472,000 in its sixth lap. Rachel Griffith’s Michelle Payne biopic starring Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton and Stevie Payne has drummed up $10.5 million.

Universal’s Judy moved up to 1.9 million after whistling up $371,000 in its third. The Rupert Goold-directed biopic starring Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland is a niche title in the US, mustering $22.9 million.

Writer-director Johannes Roberts struck gold with the original 47 Meters Down, which cost $5.3 million and minted $62.2 million worldwide in 2017. The sequel starring Nia Long and Sylvester Stallone’s daughter Sistine Rose Stallone, which cost $12 million, garnered a measly $303,000 from 170 locations here, no surprise given the US total of $22.2 million.

Fox/Disney’s Ready or Not, the splatter comedy directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is headed for the exits after plummeting by 48 per cent to $230,000 in its second weekend, taking $828,000.

Rounding out the top 10, Housefull 4, the Bollywood reincarnation comedy directed by Farhad Samji, conjured up $176,000 in its second frame on 41 screens, delivering $599,000 for Mind Blowing Films.

Studiocanal launched Balloon, director Michael Herbig’s drama based on the true story of two East German families who built a hot air balloon in which they planned to fly over the Iron Curtain in 1979, on 35 screens, drawing $71,000 and $157,000 including festivals and previews.

Balloon performed to our medium expectations, given the increasing challenges facing foreign films without a star actor or director. The Cold War drama delivers to those who’ll seek it out,” says Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly.

Summing up the weekend, Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close says: “Terminator opened softly but in line with a 10 per cent pro-rata US result. The coming weeks will see more variety for audiences with the releases of Last Christmas, Doctor Sleep, the highly anticipated Ford vs Ferrari and the Charlie’s Angels re-boot.”