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Terminator franchise is ‘re-adjusting’ after Genisys, says studio

Despite all of the hype leading up to the release of Terminator: Genisys, the franchise-rebooting 2015 film failed to win over critics or U.S. theater audiences with its time-twisting adventure through the series’ prior continuity. That underwhelming performance prompted speculation that the series would be put on hold rather than move forward with the sequels planned for 2017 and 2018.

However, rumors of the Terminator franchise’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, said a Skydance Media exec during a recent interview.

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“Do we intend to have a next step of Terminator? Yes, we do,” said Skydance chief creative officer Dana Goldberg during the Annual Media Leadership Conference hosted by The Wrap. “I wouldn’t say on hold, so much as re-adjusting.”

“At Skydance, when we talk movies, we talk universes, even more than franchises,” she continued. “So the idea of a Terminator TV show fits into that universe. All the steps have to be taken in unison.”

After premiering in July, Terminator: Genisys went on to earn just $89.7 million domestically, and garnered only a 26-percent “Fresh” rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The film’s poor performance in the U.S. was somewhat mitigated by impressive international earnings, though, and Genisys ended its run with more than $440 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Prior to the film’s release, Paramount Pictures and Skydance announced plans for two sequels scheduled to premiere in 2017 and 2018, as well as a potential television series based on the franchise.

“We are not going to begin production [on the sequel] at the beginning of next year,” said Goldberg.

As for the film’s poor box-office numbers, Goldberg acknowledged that the studio was disappointed by the response to Genisys, which starred Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke and featured the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the iconic T-800 android assassin.

“We’re ultimately happy with overall worldwide numbers. Do I wish we would have done better domestically? Absolutely,” she said.

“Happily, we live in the world where the domestic number had a level of importance 10 or 15 years ago — I’m not saying it’s not important, it is — but we have to play to a worldwide market,” she explained. “In terms of Terminator, the worldwide market paid attention, but we’re not taking the domestic number lightly.”

The next step, according to Goldberg, is to 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 step we take with the franchise is the right one.”