“This is a film that was forged in fire”: James Cameron Admits $261M Arnold Schwarzenegger Flop Was a ‘Bloodbath’ Due to Clashes With Director

Terminator: Dark Fate failed to capture the magic of its earlier movies

“This is a film that was forged in fire”: James Cameron Admits $261M Arnold Schwarzenegger Flop Was a ‘Bloodbath’ Due to Clashes With Director

SUMMARY

  • Tim Miller and James Cameron's relationship became strained as a result of the extensive discussions and arguments that arose behind the scenes
  • Cameron intervened for some uncredited editing after Miller's preferred cut of the film
  • Disagreements with Cameron began at an early stage of production when the two had different ideas about the “Dark Fate” story.
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Since its debut in 1984, the Terminator franchise has played a significant role in the film industry. But Terminator: Dark Fate, the last installment, could not quite capture the magic of its earlier movies. It received mixed reviews and had a weak box office performance despite the high level of anticipation for its release. James Cameron’s vision, who co-created and co-produced the 2019 Paramount Pictures $261.1 million film, ran counter to the director’s desire to adhere to the established formula of the earlier movies. 

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Tim Miller and Cameron’s relationship became strained as a result of the extensive discussions and arguments that arose behind the scenes as a result of this creative conflict. Their clash, according to the Canadian filmmaker, was one of the major factors in the movie’s failure.

James Cameron
James Cameron

Also Read: “I’ve been trying to figure out if we got that right”: Not the Door Scene, James Cameron Was Worried for 20 Years if He Got Another ‘Titanic’ Sequence Right

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James Cameron And Tim Miller Had ‘Creative Battles’ During The Editing Process

James Cameron shared with CinemaBlend that he was involved in the writing but did not interfere with Tim Miller’s direction and never went on set.

However, the Avatar director claimed he intervened for some uncredited editing after Miller’s preferred cut of the film because he thought it was “pretty rough [and] pretty long”. He acknowledged speaking with CinemaBlend about the “many” creative disagreements he and the director had to work through:

“I would say many. And the blood is still being scrubbed off the walls from those creative battles. This is a film that was forged in fire. So yeah, but that’s the creative process, right?.. I had the reverse experience with Tim, which is Tim wanted to make it his movie. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I kind of know a little about this world.’ So I had the matter and the anti-matter version of that producorial experience.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron
Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron

One of the main issues was the rough cut of Terminator: Dark Fate. Regarding the first draft of the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise, Cameron stated the following in a different interview with Cinema Blend:

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“It wasn’t a slam-dunk at the time.. I’m an editor myself, so I gave notes that were both broad, and very specific… I never went to the set. I’ve yet to physically meet the new cast because I never went to the set. But I was very involved in the writing and I was very involved in the cutting of the film. And to me, the cutting is really an extension of the writing.”

Also Read: Leonardo DiCaprio Lost His Mind After One Titanic Scene Because of James Cameron’s 20 Takes Rule

Tim Miller’s Thoughts on His Differences With James Cameron

Tim Miller and James Cameron
Tim Miller and James Cameron

Terminator: Dark Fate, starring Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, ultimately failed with box office receipts of only $261.1 million compared to its $185–196 million budget. In an insightful interview with KCRW’s The Business podcast, Tim Miller discussed what actually happened behind the scenes:

“I’m sure we could write a book on why it didn’t work. I’m still not sure and I’m processing, but I’m very proud of the movie.”

Miller disclosed that disagreements with Cameron began at an early stage of production when the two had different ideas about the “Dark Fate” story. He clarified: 

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“[I suggested] Legion is so powerful, the only way to beat it is going back in time and strangle it in the crib. Jim says, ‘What’s dramatic about the humans losing?’ And I say, ‘Well, What’s dramatic about the humans winning and they just need to keep on winning?’ I like a last stand. It’s not his thing.”

Terminator: Dark Fate
Terminator: Dark Fate

Despite being praised by critics as an improvement over its recent predecessors, Terminator: Dark Fate only made $261.1 million worldwide and lost $122.6 million, making it one of the biggest box office flops ever. Due to this, early plans for additional movies were later shelved.

You can stream Terminator: Dark Fate on DIRECTV.

Also Read: “Thanks for coming by”: James Cameron Was Ready To Kick Leonardo DiCaprio Out Of Titanic – What Changed His Mind?

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1647

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1600 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.