After skyrocketing to success with “Deadpool,” director Tim Miller followed his “rock-hard nerd belief” to helm a reboot for the “Terminator” franchise with 2019’s “Terminator: Dark Fate.” While the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring franchise installment was a labor of love for Miller, he admits that his own desires for what he wanted to see on the big screen weren’t enough to make it a hit with other audiences.
“I went in with the rock-hard nerd belief that if I made a good movie that I wanted to see, it would do well. And I was wrong,” Miller told audiences during Collider’s Directors on Directing Hall H San Diego Comic-Con panel this past weekend (via ScreenRant). “It was one of those f**king Eureka moments in a bad way, because the movie tanked.”
“Dark Fate” served as a direct sequel to “The Terminator” and “T2: Judgement Day,” both directed by James Cameron. The film also marked star Linda Hamilton’s return to the franchise. The last film in the franchise was released in 2019, and made over $261 million in worldwide box office returns, a major downturn from the previous entry, 2015’s “Terminator Genisys,” which made over $440 million.
Cameron served as a producer on “Dark Fate,” but the filmmaker previously admitted to CinemaBlend that Miller’s rough cut was “pretty rough” and “pretty long,” inspiring Cameron to work with producer David Ellison to forge a new cut for release.
“It wasn’t a slam-dunk at the time,” Cameron explained. “I felt there were a lot of pathways that were taken that were unnecessary. I’m an editor myself, so I gave notes that were both broad, and very specific. I continued in that process up to about two and a half months ago when we locked picture.”
The Oscar winner clarified, “I never went to the set. I’ve yet to physically meet the new cast because I never went to the set. But I was very involved in the writing and I was very involved in the cutting of the film. And to me, the cutting is really an extension of the writing.”
Cameron also opened up about butting heads with Miller, saying there were many disagreements over editing choices. “The blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles. This is a film that was forged in fire,” Cameron said. “So yeah, but that’s the creative process, right?”
“Terminator: Dark Fate” landed a C- IndieWire review, with critic David Ehrlich summing up, “When the present is this dull, however, it can be hard to remember what anyone is supposed to be fighting for.”
The film additionally garnered social media backlash for its female-centric cast, with Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, and Natalia Reyes starring in lead roles. “We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes,” Miller slammed Internet trolls at the time. “You can see online the responses to some of the early shit that’s out there, trolls on the internet. I don’t give a fuck.”