Run The Series: The later Terminator sequels would be completely obsolete if not for Ahnold

With Run The Series, The A.V. Club examines film franchises, studying how they change and evolve with each new installment.

Has judgment day arrived for the Terminator series? Somewhere, probably in an airtight bunker beneath the offices of Paramount Studios, a cabal of studio executives is deciding the fate of the franchise that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, James Cameron a major Hollywood player, and “Hasta la vista, baby” a torturously inescapable catchphrase. It’s not looking great for the machines.

Genisys, the fifth (and possibly final) film in the series, was supposed to be a hard reset on the Terminator brand—the opening chapter in a new trilogy. But the movie, which premiered last summer to dismal reviews and so-so box-office, has instead forced the powers that be to rethink the profitability of keeping the T-800 in commission. It’s not the first time a Terminator sequel has …

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