Linda Hamilton, left, and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in 'Terminator: Dark Fate'. Image Credit: AP

The ‘Terminator’ franchise may not be back.

Moviegoing masses in the United States and Canada spurned the sixth chapter in the science-fiction movie series over the weekend, calling into question the future of the 35-year-old property.

The latest film, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate,’ cost at least $185 million (Dh679.4 million) to make, not including tens of millions of dollars in marketing expenses. While it was No 1 in North America, ticket sales in North America fell well below expectations: $29 million, according to Comscore. Paramount Pictures, which distributed the movie, had been expecting about $40 million.

Overseas, where Disney is mostly handling distribution (through its 20th Century Fox division), ticket sales were relatively leaden: $73 million from 48 countries.

Warner Bros also had a bad weekend. ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ a high-minded crime drama directed by Edward Norton, who played the lead and wrote the screenplay, was dead on arrival. It collected $3.7 million. ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ cost about $25 million to make, not including marketing.

‘Joker’ (Warner) chugged away in second place, collecting $13.9 million for a five-week total of $300 million ($935 million worldwide); while ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ (Disney) was third, taking in $12.2 million and lifting its three-week total to $84.3 million.

‘Harriet’ (Focus Features), a new biographical drama about Harriet Tubman, outperformed pre-release expectations to take in about $12 million and place fourth.

‘Terminator: Dark Fate,’ directed by Tim Miller (‘Deadpool’) and carrying an R rating, received decent reviews. James Cameron, who created the series in 1984, returned as a producer for the first time since ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day,’ released in 1991. The latest chapter also brought back Linda Hamilton, who had also moved on after ‘Judgment Day.’ Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his role as well.

But there appeared to be little goodwill left for the franchise, especially at a time when entertainment options — Fortnite, Netflix, TikTok, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus — are plentiful.

“‘The gang is back and they’re better than ever’ is not enough,” David Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a movie consultancy, said in an email.