Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron continued to make the press rounds to promote the film and revealed that there are discussions to relaunch the Terminator franchise after the failure of Terminator: Dark Fate.
Cameron appeared on the Smartless podcast where he was asked if he felt he had responsibility to push a message in his films.
He responded, “Yeah. Well, I mean the Avatar films are about the environment. I’m not dealing with AI. If I were to do another Terminator film and maybe try to launch that franchise again, which is in discussion, but nothing has been decided, I would make it much more about the AI side of it than bad robots gone crazy.”
When asked to provide clarity on what he means when he refers to AI, Cameron responded, “I think it has more to do with understanding human consciousness so that we collectively, human technologists, can create an intelligence that functions the way we do.”
“Generally, they call it AGI, artificial general intelligence, that it’s not just designed to play chess and beat your a** at chess. It’s designed to solve all kinds of problems. So it needs more of consciousness in the way that we view and react to the world,” he elaborated.
Cameron previously discussed Terminator on the press circuit and explained that he believed Dark Fate failed to connect with audiences because they told the story of “your granddad’s Terminator.”
He first told Deadline, “I think, I’m actually reasonably happy with the film. Tim and I had our battles and we’ve both spoken about that, but the crazy thing is we’re still pals. Which is weird.”
“I liked him before the movie, didn’t like him very much during the movie, and I like him now, and I think he feels the same way. We’re both these crazy sci-fi geeks and we like a lot of the same things, and I love his show, Love, Death + Robots. But yeah, we butted heads,” he elaborated.
Cameron then revealed what he believes was one of the major problems with the film, “I think the problem, and I’m going to wear this one, is that I refused to do it without Arnold. Tim didn’t want Arnold, but I said, ‘Look, I don’t want that. Arnold and I have been friends for 40 years, and I could hear it, and it would go like this: ‘Jim, I can’t believe you’re making a Terminator movie without me.’ It just didn’t mean that much to me to do it, but I said, ‘If you guys could see your way clear to bringing Arnold back and then, you know, I’d be happy to be involved.’”
He continued, “And then Tim wanted Linda. I think what happened is I think the movie could have survived having Linda in it, I think it could have survived having Arnold in it, but when you put Linda and Arnold in it and then, you know, she’s 60-something, he’s 70-something, all of a sudden it wasn’t your Terminator movie, it wasn’t even your dad’s Terminator movie, it was your granddad’s Terminator movie. And we didn’t see that.”
Cameron then stated, “We loved it, we thought it was cool, you know, that we were making this sort of direct sequel to a movie that came out in 1991. And young moviegoing audiences weren’t born. They wouldn’t even have been born for another 10 years.”
“So, it was just our own myopia. We kind of got a little high on our own supply, and I think that’s the lesson there,” he declared.
Terminator: Dark Fate was an abysmal failure at the box office. The film only grossed $250.3 million when it was released in 2019 with only $62.2 million coming from the domestic box office.
The film had a reported production budget of $185 million meaning the film needed to make around $460 million to cover its production, marketing, and other costs. It clearly did not do that and appears to have been a massive money loser.
In fact, the film’s director Tim Miller has also admitted the film was a failure while speaking to Collider at San Diego Comic-Con.
He stated, “Terminator’s an interesting movie to explore, but maybe we’ve explored it enough. 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 f***ing Eureka moments in a bad way because the movie tanked.”
When Collider’s Steve Weintraub countered that it didn’t tank, Miller replied, “Then why aren’t people returning my phone calls?”
What do you make of Cameron wanting to relaunch Terminator? What do you make of his idea for the relaunch of the franchise?