Hollywood has been counting on nostalgia-fueled revenue by dusting off old characters and, therefore, old actors. It’s a decent if not original plan, but hardly a sure thing. For every ‘Jurassic World’, a very profitable trip down memory lane, there is a ‘Terminator: Genisys‘ which did not quite make $90 million domestically according to Box Office Mojo. Skydance, the studio responsible for the Terminator moving forward, first seemed prepared to let ‘Genisys’ be the last of what was originally planned as a new trilogy. Now is sounds like Skydance producer Dana Goldberg is taking this as a learning experience. She addressed the franchise during The Wrap’s 6th Annual Media Leadership Conference saying:
“(We’re using) 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.”
Goldberg went on to say that ‘Terminator: Genisys’ performed well over seas, earning 80% of its $440 million gross at the foreign box office. It seems that there are enough people globally who haven’t given up on robot assassins from the future. This really isn’t surprising as it is a compelling story. It’s just one that’s been told over and over now. Skydance’s effort to discover what audiences want next is a great idea. The fan research could prompt them to ditch elements as prominent as John and Sarah Connor, allowing new people to be the saviors of humanity. It could also mean a change to a different media. Many ‘Terminator’ faithfuls view the television series ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ as the last best story in that world. A return to TV could be possible. The value of consumer research is that the feedback received will be inherently different from the notes of studio executives. The only way to get potential viewers to be excited again is to find out what gets them excited.
The Terminator franchise will go on. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever.