“Terminator Genysis” looks to be the next blockbuster to cash in on nostalgia

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A few weeks ago, the film community collectively underestimated the impact that nostalgia could have at the box office. A lack of awareness of just how much audiences were ready to revisit the Jurassic Park franchise led to shock when Jurassic World began setting box office records. This week, there’s potentially another giant movie hoping to capitalize in the same way. It’s the sequel/franchise reboot Terminator Genysis, which is keen to follow in Jurassic World’s huge footsteps. This will be an interesting test of nostalgia, one that likely won’t be as huge a hit, but could still easily find a large audience nonetheless.

Everyone knows the Terminator franchise (started by James Cameron, in case you somehow forgot) by now, with this one seeking to slightly rewrite the rules of the series in this fifth installment/fourth sequel. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again stars as the robot protector of Sarah Conner, with Kyle Reese being sent back in time from the war ravaged future by John Conner to help with protection and in defeating Skynet. That’s all old news by now, but this time around, once Sarah and Kyle meet, everything is different. In addition to Arnold, the film stars Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith, and more. Alan Taylor directs, while the script is credited to Laeta Kalogridis Patrick Lussier. We’re a long way from Cameron’s take on the franchise, though he’s given this one his blessing, for what that’s worth.

I’ve seen the film, and while it’s not going to be an Oscar contender or anything of that nature, it should satisfy fans of the franchise. The question is just how big of a success it can be. The series has been going on a downward trend in terms of box office since Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but Jurassic Park III was also a low point, and we all saw what happened with Jurassic World. That sort of jump likely won’t happen, but I highly doubt that Terminator Genysis will be the financial disappointment that Terminator Salvation was. At the very least, it needs to surpass the $150 million gross of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. If it can’t do that, this pseudo reboot might be dead before it even really gets going.

What this really will be above all else is a true referendum on if Schwarzenegger is truly a box office draw still or not. Ever since he returned to acting after two terms as Governor of California, his films have mostly underwhelmed, at least in regard to money (give or take his cameos in The Expendables sequels). If anything would seem like a slam dunk for Arnold to re-establish his dominance, it’s a Terminator sequel. I won’t spoil what happens in the movie, but there are certainly designs on Schwarzenegger remaining a part of the franchise if it indeed moves forward. Honestly, a Terminator flick without him wouldn’t seem right anyway, right? That’s what I thought.

In the end, come Wednesday audiences will be able to either accept or reject a new Terminator outing. They lapped up Jurassic World like it was water in the desert, so all eyes will be on Terminator Genysis to see if it can in any way do the same sort of thing. My suspicion is that it won’t, but the numbers will wind up justifying another sequel. If nothing else, it’s summer movie spectacle, and that always attracts people to the cinemas. Stay tuned to see how Terminator Genysis winds up doing financially, as well as what this means for Schwarzenegger’s career going forward, one way or another. It’ll be interesting to witness, that’s for sure…

Be sure to check out Terminator Genysis this week/weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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