James Cameron offers explanation for Terminator: Dark Fate’s failure

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The creator of the Terminator series and producer of Terminator: Dark Fate suggests the latest film was too attached to the past. 

James Cameron is out and about doing the press rounds for Avatar: The Way Of Water which releases in cinemas on Friday. Among many topics, he’s opened up a little about the box office failure of Terminator: Dark Fate, the 2019 attempt to once more resuscitate the ailing Teminator franchise.

As the creator of the Terminator franchise and a hands-on producer of the film, Cameron offered his thoughts on the dark fate of Dark Fate which is reported to have lost quite a lot of money and left audiences unimpressed.

Both Cameron and the film’s director, Tim Miller, have offered their views before about the reasons as to why the film failed and at times, they’ve been more than a little contentious. This time round though, Cameron seems happier to simply accept that they both made an error in casting that doomed the film before cameras even rolled or the script was even written.

In the words of the man himself, “I think the problem, and I’m going to wear this one, is that I refused to do it without Arnold. Tim didn’t want Arnold but I said, look, I don’t want that. Arnold and I have been friends for 40 years and I could hear it, and it would go like this: ‘Jim, I can’t believe you’re making a Terminator movie without me. It just didn’t mean that much to me to do it, but I said, if you guys could see your way clear to bringing Arnold back and then, you know, I’d be happy to be involved’.”

He added that “and then Tim wanted Linda [Hamilton]. I think what happened is I think the movie could have survived having Linda in it, I think it could have survived having Arnold in it, but when you put Linda and Arnold in it and then, you know, she’s 60 something, he’s 70 something, all of a sudden it wasn’t your Terminator movie, it wasn’t even your dad’s Terminator movie, it was your granddad’s Terminator movie. And we didn’t see that”.

Cameron admits that he and Miller enjoyed it, but that “it was just our own myopia. We kind of got a little high on our own supply and I think that’s the lesson there”.

The comments are part of a wider-ranging interview with Deadline that is well worth a read.

What do you think though? Was Dark Fate’s problem that it was too attached to the series’ past or did its issues lie elsewhere? The film’s dismal performance seems to have left the franchise in a state of suspended animation for the time being and who knows, it’s possible that Cameron may never direct another film outside of the Avatar series so the chances of him returning to lead the series back to its former glories are somewhat slim. That’s even if he may have greater control of the rights and a desire to leave the Terminator films on a higher point than Dark Fate.

You can catch his latest film, Avatar: The Way Of Water in cinemas from Friday.

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