Is there a more exhausted movie line than “I’ll be ba-ack?”
Arnold Schwarzenegger famously uttered it during 1984’s “The Terminator.” The film became a smash, cemented the actor’s star status and yielded the dizzying sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”
It’s all been downhill from there.
One sequel and two franchise reboots later, and series creator James Cameron is getting back in the Terminator business. Mr. “Avatar” himself won’t be directing the new “Terminator” films. He’ll be behind the scenes producing.
It all begs the question: why? Here are four reasons we don’t need another “Terminator” feature, let alone a new trilogy.
1. The Money Pit
Franchises exist for a simple reason. They generate cash for the studio in question. Yet that’s not true for the “Terminator” series. The last three films underwhelmed at the box office, the latter dramatically so. The 2015 reboot/sequel “Terminator: Genisys” featured the much-ballyhooed return of Schwarzenegger to the franchise.
Audiences yawned to the tune of $89 million in domestic ticket sales, a bit more than half the film’s budget. Yikes. Why would we think that will change for a new sequel?
2. Arnold’s Fame Shrinkage
Once upon a time the former Mr. Olympia ruled Hollywood. That was then, before “The Last Action Hero” and his exploits as California’s “Governator.”
Now? Some of his movies hit the VOD circuit. Others, like “Sabotage,” simply flop. Hard ($10 million). His box office cache is a thing of the past.
Some franchises blossom due to the nature of the story itself. The “Harry Potter” series followed a boy wizard into adulthood, facing the monster who killed his parents and threatened the security of his beloved school.
We couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
The “Terminator” series? The elements intrigue us, from the frightening SkyNet to the time-travel potential showcased throughout the series. But is anyone clamoring to revisit a world which has been rejiggered so often for so many projects (Including “The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) we’ve simply lost track?
Cameron promises the new films will ignore the last three films in the series. That’s even more frustrating for Geek Nation.
4. Linda Who?
The big news for the rebooted franchise? Linda Hamilton, who memorably played Sarah Connor in the first two features, will return for the new trilogy.
Hamilton is hardly a superstar, then or now. She delivered a fierce performance in “Judgment Day,” and seeing her back in the franchise’s fold with fire up some nostalgia circuits, no doubt. It’s still not nearly enough to revive interest in the series.