Although most expected Terminator Salvation to top the box office on its opening weekend it was not to be.
Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian took the number one spot ahead of Terminator with a $53.5M take across its Friday-Sunday opening run – some $20M more than the first Night at the Musueum movie.
Terminator Salvation is estimated to have taken $43M for the same stretch – roughly $1M less than what its predecessor Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines managed six years ago.
The numbers don’t reflect Terminator’s full opening haul. Terminator opened a day ahead of Smithsonian which added an additional $13.4M to Terminator’s total estimated gross, effectively taking its tally to $56.4M.
Most pundits expected Terminator Salvation to top $70M but it was not to be. Smithsonian proved a stronger competitor than anticipated whilst Salvation had to also deal with a still strong Star Trek ($22M) and Angels & Demons with $21.4M.
In the face of a $200M budget, Terminator’s opening box office tally is a disappointment for Warner Bros. Warner’s only comment was to indicate that the film was also hurt by competition from real world events such as the National Basketball Association playoffs which they claim hurt business in cities like Los Angeles.