Terminator Salvation's Box Office Failure Addressed by McG, as Darker Alternate Ending Teased: "It's Beyond Dark."


  • Director McG reflects on Terminator: Salvation‘s disappointing box office and negative reviews, calling it a “wound” he’s been living with for 14 years.
  • McG hints at an alternate cut of the film with a darker ending that could potentially be released in the future.
  • Despite its underperformance, Terminator: Salvation still grossed around $371 million worldwide, but fell short compared to its predecessors and even Terminator: Genisys, which received worse reviews.

The Terminator franchise has had plenty of ups and downs since Arnold Schwarzenegger first materialized butt-naked from a time displacement sphere in the middle of Los Angeles to seek out and destroy Sarah Conner. Some 25 years after the 1984 debut of the franchise, director McG helmed the fourth entry in the saga, Terminator: Salvation. In a new interview with Comicbook,com, McG addressed the movie’s disastrous reception, and teased an alternate cut of the movie with a different, darker ending.

Terminator: Salvation starred Christian Bale as an adult John Connor and switched up the format of the franchise by taking place after the events of Judgement Day and finding Conner and the human Resistance battling a fully sentient Skynet. While a CGI version of Schwarzenegger did turn up briefly, there was more than just big Arnie’s absence that caused the movie to fail.

Now, McG has reflected on the failure of his Terminator movie, noting that its disappointing box office and mostly negative reviews is a “wound” that he has been living with for 14 years. Additionally, he dropped the tease that somewhere there is a version of the film with a darker ending that could one day be released. He said:

“We tried hard. On that one, we brought in Jonah Nolan to write it, there was a writers’ strike back then. Brought in Christian Bale, you can’t reach much higher than that. We certainly gave it everything we had. A lot of people like that movie, it didn’t quite do what I hoped it was gonna do and I’ve been living with that wound a long time. There’s a cut out there with an entirely different ending, I just can’t share it with the world yet. It’s beyond dark.”

Related:The Terminator Producer Reveals Why a Franchise-Changing Scene Was Omitted Due To Bad Acting

What Went Wrong With Terminator: Salvation?


Terminator: Salvation marked a significant departure from its predecessors. Set in a post-apocalyptic 2018, it focused on the war between humanity and Skynet, a departure from the time-travel-centric plots of the earlier films. The change in setting and plot was intended to revive the franchise after Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines delivered an ending that promised its successor would finally throw audiences into the human-machine war that had been promised since the opening moments of James Cameron’s original movie.

Financially, Terminator: Salvation underperformed at the box office, but was not a complete disaster. With a production budget of approximately $200 million, the film grossed around $371 million worldwide. Compared to Terminator 3’s $433 million gross, this was a major disappointment, and even the fifth movie, Terminator: Genisys, which received even worse reviews than Salvation, made over $440 million in 2015.

Following the release of Terminator: Dark Fate in 2019, another disappointment in financial terms, it seemed that the franchise had finally come to an end, with Schwarzenegger and his original costar Linda Hamilton wrapping up their time as the T-800 and Sarah Connor respectively. However, James Cameron recently teased that there could be another Terminator movie on the cards, and for those who can’t wait for that to happen, a brand-new anime series based on the franchise is coming soon to Netflix. The war is certainly a long way from being over yet.


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