Tim Miller was a director to watch after his success with the R-rated superhero film Deadpool. After being named the director to helm a reboot of the Terminatorfranchise, Miller was confident that his “rock-hard nerd belief” would make Terminator: Dark Fatea success.
Terminator: Dark Fate ended up being a box office bomb. Although the franchise installment was a labor of love for Miller, he admits that his own desire to create what he wanted to see on the big screen wasn’t enough to satisfy audiences.
According to ScreenRant, Miller told audiences during Collider’s Directors on Directing Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, “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. It was one of those fucking 'eureka' moments in a bad way because the movie tanked.”
Miller’s Dark Fate is the direct sequel to James Cameron’sT2: Judgment Day, meaning that the film ignores the alternate timelines that the previous three Terminator films follow. Dark Fate also marked the return of Linda Hamilton to the franchise. Unfortunately, the film only made $261 million at the worldwide box office, which was a disappointing return compared to Terminator Genisys’ $440 million.
Cameron, who served as a producer on Dark Fate, told CinemaBlend in 2019 that Miller’s rough cut was “pretty rough” and “pretty long.” Cameron and producer David Ellison forged a new cut for release with Miller’s work, but the project didn’t work for audiences.
“It wasn’t a slam-dunk at the time,” Cameron said. “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.”
Although Cameron was very involved in the writing and cutting of the film, he never went to set and interacted with the cast and crew. Cameron and Miller butted heads throughout the editing process, saying that there were many disagreements over editing choices.
"The blood is still being scrubbed off the wall from those creative battles," Cameron said. "So yeah, but that's the creative process, right?"
Tim Miller BTS on 'Terminator: Dark Fate'Credit: Kerry Brown
Sometimes, projects led by fans of the franchise can be misled by their desire to create nostalgia-induced imagery and callbacks to the past movies instead of pushing the franchise forward in a new direction. We’ve seen it multiple times with the countless reboots and requels being released, but we can appreciate Miller’s dedication to the material.
What we can learn from Miller’s mistake is to work with those who are trying to collaborate with you. If James Cameron is suggesting you try something, then maybe just try it and see how it works out in the end. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to your gut instinct. Find a way to balance advice and intuition, and you can create something that you and the fans of the franchise will want to see.
While Dark Fate isn’t the worst film in the franchise (I’ll let you decide which Terminator film gets that title), it is a film made too late to save an already struggling franchise.
Is it time to revisit Terminator: Dark Fate? Let us know what you think of the film in the comments below!