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What Terminator Can Learn From Other Successful Franchises

The Terminator franchise has attempted to bring the series back multiple times, with Terminator: Dark Fate being the most recent project. Director Tim Miller recently claimed he was “wrong” when he made the film, approaching the project with a fan-based mindset instead of thinking about the longevity of the franchise. Each new film, including Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys, grounded its plot in the original setting of the first film, retelling narratives fans already know from the trilogy.

Salvation and Genisys had primarily focused on continuing Connors’ story, which served as a specific fan service. Both films had low critics scores that kept them from developing into their own trilogies. Dark Fate received a much better response from critics, which producers could have taken as a positive sign for the franchise. Unfortunately, the fate of the series depended heavily on how the Dark Fate performed at the box office, and it was considered a bomb. If all franchises had followed similar limitations, then they wouldn’t have had the successful revivals of their series.

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Alien’s Resurgence Came Quietly

In 2012, Prometheus was released after running a campaign that focused on spotlighting specific characters rather than connecting the film to the larger franchise. The public grew interested in the movie because they weren’t sure what to expect, having no idea they were walking into another Alien film. The last installment of the franchise had been released 15 years prior and had a relatively low critic score compared to the first two films. Alien 3 was considered a failure, but many fans still deem the film brilliant.

The initial marketing stunt provided a strong resurgence for Alien, which led to the development and release of Alien: Covenant five years later. A third prequel film is currently in development, with Ridley Scott serving as director. This film will close out the series and make way for another, separate Alien film that’s set to release on Hulu in the future, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Without taking that initial risk to market the film as something completely new and different, the series might not have had such a successful revival.

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Predator Has Sparked Renewed Interest
Prey Predator 2022
Predator has maintained a self-aware tone to its projects, embracing the Alien vs. Predator crossover series. The films haven’t taken themselves too seriously, and the first film of the franchise was the only movie to receive a relatively positive critical response. Predators (2010) received mixed reactions, but the film served as a solid foundation to revive the series. The next film, The Predator, was released in 2018 and introduced a new concept to the franchise that reinvented the story significantly.

Prey is the newest installment in the series, and it was released on Hulu on Aug. 5. 2022. The characters for this film are completely different from the previous movies, as they are warriors from the Comanche Nation rather than a group of soldiers. This film serves as a predecessor to the series as it takes place in 1719, and the events from the movie provide some explanation of how the aliens navigate the human world in the future. Some critics, including Inside the Magic, have even deemed the film “better than the original Predator.”

RELATED: SDCC: Prey’s Cast & Crew Dish On the Upcoming Predator Prequel

Jurassic Park Created a Whole New World
Jurassic Park logo on car door
The Steven Spielberg science fiction film Jurassic Park was released in 1993 and served as a significant starting point for the fandom that would follow the series for the next 30 years. Each film in the original trilogy is tied to a theme park that originated in the first movie, and they all follow a similar theme that involves rounding up various dinosaurs that have escaped. Besides the first film, the other two in the trilogy received mixed reviews from critics but were box-office successes. Although the series ended production for a while, it revived with Jurassic World in 2015, which prompted a second trilogy.

Jurassic World brought a new concept to the franchise as it included genetically modified dinosaurs. The film also had a different name from its predecessors, indicating this series would be vastly different in its approach to the theme park. The original Jurassic Park didn’t have rides or gimmicky activities for visitors like Jurassic World. Although the film was set on the same island as the first film, the premise was different enough to entice new audiences while still providing fan service to the original base.

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The second and third Jurassic World films had received low critic scores, but they were both box-office successes. According to Collider, Jurassic World Dominion was designed to end the second trilogy of the franchise, but it also served as “the start of a new era” where humans have to co-exist with dinosaurs on the mainland. Nothing has been officially announced, but the franchise is likely to have more films.

What Terminator Can Ultimately Learn From These Franchises

Although The Terminator and Terminator 2 both received incredibly high reviews from critics at their release, the franchise might be hindering their progress if a similar result is expected in the future. None of the franchises above have had movie releases that surpassed their first film’s score (except Prey), but each brought something new or different to the table that enticed new and old audiences. The Terminator franchise must learn to embrace a different kind of story instead of attempting to recreate the first film’s magic.

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