Terminator: Dark Fate actually landed in fourth place at the UK box office in its opening weekend, behind the likes of Joker and The Addams Family.

Sooner or later, the past was bound to catch up with the Terminator franchise.

Since James Cameron’s 1991 opus Terminator 2: Judgment Day, there have been numerous attempts to recapture the impact of the first two films. And yet none have managed to really hit the mark. I say that as someone with a real soft spot for Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.

This past week in the UK, we got the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, the third straight attempt in the series to launch a new trilogy of movies. Promisingly, this one had James Cameron back on board for the first time, on story and producing duties. And notably, it wipes out the narrative of the series from the third film onwards, to be a direct follow-up to Judgment Day.

What’s often overlooked about the Terminator films is that the franchise has continued to secure good box office, even as the quality of the films has tailed off. Yet ironically, at a point where the film has improved, the box office looks to have finally stumbled.

It’s telling that Dark Fate is the first Terminator follow-up to not get a big summer release, landing in October in the UK and November in the US. But the first week’s box office in the UK has been below expectations. The film opened in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia over the past five days, and the early box office is $12.8m worldwide.

Now it’s way too early to call this a huge disappointment, but that number is lower than expectations and requirements thus far. A big release in China or America could transform the film’s fortunes, but the movie has found itself already competing with the holding power of Joker.

In the UK, the film was the best performing territory so far for Dark Fate, but still landed at number four in the weekend chart.

UPDATE: Terminator: Dark Fate fell behind JokerMaleficent: Mistress Of Evil and The Addams Family over the weekend in the UK, although it had been in cinemas since last Wednesday, so has outgrossed the later. Still, it’s the lowest debut for a Terminator film in the UK since the original. Ouch.

Testing times then for the franchise. Its endurance will be pushed heavily over the coming weeks as the movie completes its global rollout. Once that’s done, we’ll have a clearer idea as to whether those future chapters will come to pass, and if the planned new trilogy will happen.

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