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‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ and ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ draw yawns at box office

Natalia Reyes, left, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton in “Terminator: Dark Fate.”
Natalia Reyes, left, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton in “Terminator: Dark Fate.”
(Kerry Brown / Paramount)

‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ suffers franchise fatigue while ‘Harriet’ opens solid. ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ and ‘Arctic Dogs’ both fail to crack $5 million.

While Paramount’s “Terminator: Dark Fate” won the box office, opening in first place with $29 million, the result is well below analyst projections of $35 million to $40 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. The previous series installment, “Terminator: Genisys,” also opened poorly with $27 million in 2015, and on an extended Fourth of July weekend.

The overall box office took another hit, down 20.9% from the same weekend a year ago when “Bohemian Rhapsody” opened with $51 million. The year-to-date is now down 5.2% from 2018.

The $185-million “Dark Fate” is the sixth entry in the “Terminator” franchise and the third attempt to revive the series in a decade. Although the sequel generated buzz at Comic-Con for being the first entry since 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to reunite series creator James Cameron and stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, moviegoers failed to turn up for it.

“The box office fate of many long-running franchises has been mixed,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore. “Some rely heavily on their box office outside of North America to recoup their often sizable production costs. ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has been embraced by the fans and has enjoyed solid reviews so it could enjoy long-term playability in the coming weeks.”

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He added: “The current marketplace is extremely crowded and competitive, and ‘Joker’ has become such an unbelievable long-running juggernaut that it has essentially cut into almost every other new film’s audience and has dominated the fall movie season in a way that could not have been predicted just a couple of months ago.”

“Dark Fate” was also reportedly plagued with production issues, including a bloated budget, script problems, creative battles between Cameron and director Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) and a set that went dark for days.

“Dark Fate” earned so-so reviews with a B-plus CinemaScore and a 69% “fresh” score on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

In second place, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” continued its autumn success, adding $13.9 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $299.6 million. Globally, the film stands at an impressive $934 million.

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At No. 3, Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” added $12.2 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $84.3 million.

In fourth place, Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet” opened with $12 million, slightly above analyst projections of $10 million.

Directed by Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”), the film stars Cynthia Erivo as the titular freedom fighter. It was well-received with an A-plus CinemaScore and a 73% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five, United Artists Releasing’s “The Addams Family” added $8.5 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $85.3 million.

In sixth place, Sony’s “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” added $7.3 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $59.3 million.

At No. 7, STX Entertainment’s “Countdown” added $5.9 million in its second weekend (a 34% drop) for a cumulative $17.8 million.

In eighth place, Sony’s “Black and Blue” added $4.1 million in its second weekend (a 52% drop) for a cumulative $15.4 million.

At No. 9, Warner Bros. opened the crime drama “Motherless Brooklyn” with $3.7 million, well below analyst projections of $10 million.

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Edward Norton serves as writer, director, producer and star of the $26-million movie, an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novel about a ‘50s-era private investigator with Tourette syndrome who is on the hunt to solve his mentor’s murder.

The film, which earned a 62% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, also features Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.

Rounding out the top 10, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures’ animated “Arctic Dogs” opened with $3.1 million, well below analyst projections of $10 million.

The $50-million movie features Jeremy Renner as the voice of Swifty the Arctic fox, a mailroom delivery service worker. John Cleese, Anjelica Huston, James Franco, Heidi Klum and Alec Baldwin also lend their voices to the film, which earned a dismal B-minus CinemaScore and did not screen for critics.

Also new this week, Netflix released the Martin Scorsese crime drama “The Irishman” in eight locations in New York and Los Angeles. Netflix does not report its box office grosses.

Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, the 3.5-hour mob drama cost $160 million to $200 million to produce. It boasts a 97% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes and will debut on the streaming service Nov. 27.

Limited releases continued to do well, including Neon’s “Parasite,” which added $2.6 million in its fifth weekend for a per-screen average of $5,705 and a cumulative $7.5 million.

Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit” added $2.4 million across 256 locations (up from 55) in its third weekend for a cumulative $4.3 million.

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A24’s “The Lighthouse” added $2 million in its third weekend for a cumulative $7 million.

101 Films’ “The Current War: Director’s Cut” added 60 locations and $1.2 million in its second weekend for a cumulative $5 million.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded “Frankie” into 11 screens (up from four) to $26,259 for a per-screen average of $2,387 and a cumulative $52,360.

Utopia released Errol Morris’ documentary on Stephen K. Bannon, “American Dharma,” exclusively at Film Forum in New York. It earned $7,522 and opens Friday in Los Angeles.

This week, Warner Bros. opens the Stephen King adaptation “Doctor Sleep,” Universal releases the romantic comedy “Last Christmas,” Lionsgate reveals the action drama “Midway” and Paramount debuts the family comedy “Playing With Fire.” In limited release, Amazon opens the Shia LaBeouf drama “Honey Boy.”


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