Terminator Genisys: Failure and Downfall
Before I start commenting, Let me first say I have had time to think about Terminator Genisys, I saw it 3 times at the cinema within a fortnight, I had listened to others thoughts on the movie and this is my conclusion. I liked Terminator Genisys a lot at first, even going as far as praising it as being better than Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation like a lot of fans and even James Cameron have done, not that they are not entitled to their opinion, they are entitled. However after a reevalation of the film, I was forced to conclude that Terminator Genisys was a big mistake, not in the sense of the movie being a mistake, but the intention behind it.
For me, Terminator Genisys is a film that has grown noticably worse as time has past. I do not think this movie was bad, In terms of production and entertainment value, Terminator Genisys definitely excells, The action was amazing, the CGI was top notch for the most part, especially with the Original Terminator at the beginning of the film and the performances, while not terrible, ranged from average to good. The only major flaw that brings the film down is the script, it doesn’t elevate the film, it dimishes it. The writing of this movie, as well intentioned as it is, is plain awful, not to mention the film itself comes across as pretentious. It’s a desperate attempt to be the third Terminator movie despite the fact the third Terminator movie already existed 12 years prior.
The film itself I see as a mixed bag, there is enough in the film to make it at least salvageable and a worthwhile watch. In the future, I hope to review Terminator Genisys and explain what works and what doesn’t more in depth.
To give a background on the film’s production and it’s aftermath, Terminator Genisys was meant to function as a launch vehicle for a shared universe comprising 2 more Terminator films and a television series. Essentially what you would have is a standalone second Terminator Trilogy with a tv show to boot.
Terminator Genisys cost $155 million dollars to make, plus roughly $50-100 million on marketing, it grossed $440 million world wide. Domestically it made $89 million, while it made $350 million in other territories. While it has made a decent profit thanks to the Chinese Market, it has had to contend with some pretty tough competition, namely Inside Out, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Jurassic World, Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron, all of which ranged from performing reasonably well, to storming the box office.
Here you can see the film names and the money that they made at the box office:
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation: $682.3 million
Jurassic World: $1.670 billion
Ant-Man: $519.3 million
Avengers Age of Ultron: $1.405 billion
The two major releases namely Jurassic World and Age of Ultron made 1 billion plus extra at the box office respectively, Jurassic World being the higher and faster of the two in terms of raking in money at the box office and both of the films trampled Genisys underfoot.
Terminator Genisys in comparison to the three Terminator film sequels from Terminator 2: Judgement Day onwards is currently the second highest grossing sequel of the franchise, Terminator 2 made $519-520 million, Terminator 3 made $433 million and Terminator Salvation made $371 million. It’s domestic gross is the lowest among the sequels but the other territories gross is the highest among them. While the first Terminator is the lowest grossing Terminator movie, it nevertheless was a box office smash and a surprise hit, grossing $78.3 million worldwide against a $6.4 million budget.
As for the plans moving forward with the Genisys Shared Universe, they were reportedly put on hold, although producer Dana Goldberg had gone on record saying the following:
“[We will use] data and research to do a worldwide study and really talk to audiences about what they loved, and what maybe didn’t work for them, so that the next we take with the franchise is the right one”
Skydance, the company that produced the film, apparently conducted a study to see how to improve on Terminator Genisys’s sequels in the future in light of the critical reception and. In January of 2016, the first sequel was removed from Paramount’s release schedule and replaced with a Baywatch movie. However, recently Arnold Schwarzeneggar has claimed the sequel is moving forward and Emilia Clarke stated even more recently that she would not be back for the sequel.
Here is one thing though, has it occurred to anyone to make a sequel to Terminator Salvation? I even have my own ideas for a sequel to that movie and to Terminator 3, so that the storyline in the first 4 films has decent closure but that is another article for another time.
But putting that aside, Why did Terminator Genisys fail and why did Jurassic Park succeed?
Firstly, Universal Accessiblity (I know cringeworthy pun). But what do I mean? Firstly, Jurassic World kept it simple and played it safe (The Force Awakens did the same thing later in the year, but that movie is another story).
I enjoyed Jurassic World and do consider it as good as the first, but with a slight difference, it has a higher entertainment value but the moral issues it tackles while they are good, almost seem to take a little back seat. Yes there are some plot holes admittedly coupled with one contrivance regarding the Indominus Rex cage, and while you could argue that the characters are a little banal and generic, the movie was at least an attempt to make something worthwhile and fun.
Terminator Genisys’ story is absolutely convoluted and any themes brought up in the film are never really explored or tackled as they should be. Even though Jurassic World played it safe, you can still watch that film as it’s own self contained film and if the person liked it, it can function as a gateway to the other three films. Jurassic World can be enjoyed as standalone. You get the necessary details about the park in the beginning.
Terminator Genisys on the other hand can really properly enjoyed if you have seen the first two Terminator films, although there are some rare instances where someone will like the movie even if they have never seen the first two. The film itself however has no relevance outside of a small circle of fans, that’s not good if you are trying to create a new stand alone trilogy or reinvigorate a franchise that has long since lost it’s way. People should not have to be familiar with a previous work in order to enjoy a movie.
Star Power is the next factor. Chris Pratt has gained universal acclaim from his performances, specifically his previous outings over the past few years, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Lego Movie and as such, is a box office draw. Who heard of Chris Pratt before those movies? I didn’t know of him till they came out. Pratt has a strong level of star power and I think that did play a factor in Jurassic World’s success.
Terminator Genisys had Arnold Schwarzenegger and most individuals have observed that Arnie no longer has the box office draw and to be brutally honest, Emilia Clarke doesn’t have the same level of star power that Chris Pratt does, Clarke is really only known through Game of Thrones and I am aware she has other projects under her belt, but they haven’t propelled her to the stardom. I am pleased however that Genisys has not killed her career and she is still getting work elsewhere, including the upcoming movie “Me before You”.
Jai Courtney, Well the less said about A Good day to Die Hard the better and to be fair, the guy was intimidating in Jack Reacher as one of the villains. Again like Emilia Clarke, I am glad his career hasn’t been killed and he is going to be in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the third installment in the DC Extended Universe.
Whatever Paramount decides to do with the next Terminator film, there is no guarantee that the film will be a box office smash. Unless they pull the stops out to make the next outing as good as they possibly can, you are going to end up with two stellar movies in a mediocre franchise and the three sequels that came after Terminator 2 haven’t exactly inspired confidence in any future Terminator projects.
We’ll just have to wait and see but unfortunately as it stands Terminator Genysis was a critical and financial failure.