TERMINATOR GENISYS breaks Chinese box office records; keeps hope alive for sequels

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Emilia-Clarke-Arnold-Terminator-Genisys-Movie

I really, really want a sequel to Terminator Genisys. It’s not that I found this latest sequel/reboot/rebooquel to be exceptional or anything – it’s fun and definitely better than the last two films, but still pretty flawed – but rather because the completionist in me just has a disdain for unresolved questions in movies. And boy, did Terminator Genisys leave us with a couple doozies. I won’t recount them here for SPOILER reasons, but let’s just say that the movie is clearly setting up a much bigger story arc set to play out over a few more movies.

Movies that we would never get to see if Genisys didn’t perform well enough at the box office. That was the statement from Paramount before Genisys’ release, and which looked like the likeliest scenario afterwards as it opened to a pretty paltry $28 million in the US, which was an even lower figure than the previous two movies. And although that figure would eventually get buoyed with some international numbers, adding up to a worldwide gross of $353 million, the studio was still uncertain on the franchise’s fate.

But they got a massive confidence booster over this weekend past, when the film finally opened in China, pulling $27.4 million on its first day alone, according to Deadline. Opening at the no.1 spot, this is the 4th best opening day of all time for a Hollywood movie in China, only bested by Furious 7, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Transformers: Age Of Extinction. This also Paramount’s second best debut behind Transformers.

Now there is a caveat to that performance though: While star Arnold Schwarzenegger is still hugely recognizable figure and was touring all over China to promote the film just before its debut, it’s a definite possibility that Terminator Genisys’ success has less to do with his star appeal and more to do with the fact that Terminator Genisys is actually the first Hollywood movie to open in China since Jurassic World in early June. This was due to China’s self-imposed movie blackout, where international movies are not allowed to open so as to give local movies preference during the key summer blockbuster season.

So did the Chinese moviegoers just flock to the cinema for their first taste of Hollywood in a while, or did they really come out in droves just to see Arnie do his Terminator thing one more time? Honestly, the answer is pretty moot, because if the Chinese box office returns keep up, then it’s almost a certainty that Paramount would have enough financial justification – which is at $342 million currently, by the way – to greenlight the two already scheduled sequels for 2017 and 2019 and wrap up the messy time-travel plot points that Genisys introduced.

And in case you’re keeping score at home, if Paramount does go ahead with more movies, that would now be two big budget Hollywood sequels about robots punching each other – the other being Pacific Rim 2 that the increasingly important Chinese box office has rescued from the fires after poor domestic showings.

Last Updated: August 25, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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