News game “It’s your grandfather’s Terminator!” James Cameron (Avatar 2) looks back on one of his biggest failures!
Published on 20/12/2022 at 15:36
On display with Avatar: The Way of the Water, James Cameron is logically at the center of the news. The release of the film was an opportunity for him to give many interviews, to talk about the production, his career, his expectations or even his fears and his failures.
A historical director, driven by the greatest successes of cinema
James Cameron is best known for being behind the camera for many successes. He directed Avatar, the most profitable film in the history of cinema, Titanic, Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens: The Return, Solaris or even Abyss. Currently, he carries on his shoulders Avatar: The Way of Water, which has unfortunately took 13 years to reach us. The result is a nice technical slap and a gripping cinematic experience, even if critics tend to be more reserved about the story and the narration.
Anyway, the feature film opened with $435 million at the box office, which constitutes an excellent basis with regard to ambitions. This same start was a little more timid than expected in the United States, with “only” $135 million generatedbut nothing that could constitute a failure.
The failure of Terminator Dark Fate, James Cameron “bears the responsibility”
On the other hand, chess, James Cameron knew some ! In 2019, James Cameron and his teams, under the leadership of Tim Miller, released Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth installment in the legendary saga. From a screenplay point of view, it takes place just after Terminator 2, and gives birth to a third timeline. With linda Hamilton, Arnold SchwarzeneggerMackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna in the cast, and the possibility of discovering a new version of this dystopian future, expectations were high.
Unfortunately, the film was a real commercial and financial failure. Accompanied by mixed reviews, the film, which cost $185 million, generated only 261 million and caused an overall loss of more than 120 million of dollars. James Cameron was a producer and involved in the script, and takes it upon himself to explain this failure:
The problem, and I take responsibility for it, is that I refused to make the film without Arnold. Tim (Miller) didn’t want Arnold (Schwarzenegger) but I said, “Look, Arnold and I have been friends for 40 years, and I don’t want to hear him say, ‘Jim, I can’t believe that you’re making a Terminator movie without me”…I told them if they could get Arnold back, I’d be happy to get involved in the movie.
The failure would therefore have been due to James Cameron’s desire to see Arnold Schwarzenegger return, but not only. The return of Linda Hamilton would also have reinforced the impression given that the license was not able to move on. Unfortunately, this approach couldn’t work with younger audiences, while repelling historical fans, tired of repetition:
Tim wanted Linda (Hamilton). The film could have survived Linda’s return as well as Arnold’s. But when you put the two together, her being 60 and him over 70, it’s not your Terminator movie anymore. It’s not even your father’s. It’s your grandfather’s Terminator. We didn’t understand it. We liked our story, we thought it was a good idea to produce a direct sequel to Terminator 2. But in 91, the young audience of today was not born. He wasn’t even born in 2000… We were myopic. We were high on our own stuff. This is the lesson to be learned.
Tensions and painful memories for some actors
This failure has obviously created tension between Tim Miller, director of the film, and James Cameron, producer. Tim Miller has often spoken about the disaster Terminator: Dark Fate, accusing the production, and therefore James Cameron, of not having let him make his film by imposing things on him, including the presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said he could have written a book on the reasons for the failure of the film, even if some things still elude him.
On the other hand, he says that what people liked the least were things he had no control over. Despite everything, James Cameron declared that he and Tim Miller were still friends, the tensions having obviously been limited to filming and production. For her part, Linda Hamilton indicates that it was difficult to come back, and that she felt that it was going into the wall:
It was emotionally so heavy and complex to come back. I gave it my all, I trained like crazy… But when we started shooting with a script that wasn’t finished, I realized we were going straight into the wall.
For now, we do not know the future of the Terminator license, but James Cameron already had ideas for a Terminator 7. The idea was to bring back another version of Grace, in a new alternate timeline. Everyone rejected this idea and this scriptleaving, for the moment, Terminator in the closet with a disappointing Dark Fate.