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Terminator Salvation

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Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American Science fiction film written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, and directed by McG. It is the fourth film in the Terminator series, and stars Christian Bale as future Resistance leader John Connor, and Sam Worthington as cyborg Marcus Wright. The film also introduces a young version of Kyle Reese, played by Anton Yelchin, the protagonist from the original 1984 film, as well as depicting the origin of the T-800 Model 101 Terminator. Terminator Salvation, set in 2018, focuses on the war between humanity and Skynet. The film was released on May 21, 2009 in the United States, June 3, 2009 in the UK, and June 4, 2009 in Australia.



Plot

In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) to sign his body over for medical research following his execution by lethal injection. One year later, the Skynet system is activated, perceives humans as a threat to its own existence, and eradicates much of humanity in the event known as Judgment Day. In 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale) leads an attack by the human Resistance on a Skynet base. John discovers human prisoners and the plans for the development of a new type of Terminator incorporating living tissue, but is the only apparent survivor of the attack after the base is destroyed in a nuclear explosion. However, Marcus emerges from the wreckage of the base and proceeds on foot to Los Angeles.

John returns to the Resistance headquarters on board a nuclear submarine and tells General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) of his discovery. The Resistance has discovered a radio frequency capable of shutting down Skynet machines. They plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco in four days, in response to an intercepted "kill list" indicating that Skynet plans to kill the Resistance's command staff in four days' time. John learns that his own name is second on the list, following Kyle Reese. The Resistance leaders are unaware of Kyle's importance to Skynet, or that he will later become John's father. John meets with his officer Barnes (Common) and wife Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard) and sends radio broadcasts to Resistance members and surviving civilians around the world.

Arriving in the ruins of Los Angeles, Marcus is saved from a T-600 Terminator by Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and his mute companion Star (Jadagrace Berry). Kyle relates to Marcus the events of Judgment Day and the ensuing war between humans and machines. Hearing John's radio broadcast, the three leave Los Angeles in search of the Resistance. They survive an attack by machines, but Kyle, Star, and several other humans are taken prisoner, while a pair of Resistance aircraft are shot down. Marcus locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) and they make their way to John's base, but Marcus is wounded by a land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that he is in fact a cyborg with human organs, a mechanical endoskeleton, circuitry, and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Marcus believes himself to be human, begging to be released so that he can save Kyle from Skynet, but John orders his destruction. However, Blair releases him and helps him to escape from the base. During the resulting pursuit Marcus saves John's life from Skynet hydrobots, and the two form an alliance—Marcus will enter Skynet's headquarters and attempt to disable its defenses so that John can rescue Kyle.

John demands that Ashdown delay the attack so that he can rescue Kyle and the other prisoners, but Ashdown refuses and relieves John of his command. However, John's soldiers remain loyal to him and he sends a radio broadcast asking the other Resistance fighters not to attack Skynet. Meanwhile, Marcus enters the Skynet base and interfaces with the computer, disabling the perimeter defenses and allowing John to infiltrate the cell block and release the human prisoners. Marcus then learns that he was created by Skynet and has unwittingly fulfilled his programmed mission to lure John into the base so that he can be killed. The Resistance's disabling signal is revealed to be a ruse, and the command submarine with the resistance leaders aboard is destroyed by a Hunter-Killer. Marcus watches as John is attacked by a T-800 Model 101 Terminator. Marcus tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists John in battling the T-800. John is mortally wounded, but succeeds in destroying the Skynet base by rigging several Terminator nuclear power cells to an explosive, detonating them as he, Marcus, Kyle, and Star are airlifted out.

Kate attempts to save John's life, but his heart is too damaged. Marcus offers his heart for transplant, sacrificing himself to save John. Recovering, John radios to the other Resistance fighters that though this battle has been won, the war is far from over.

Cast

Christian Bale as John Connor: A soldier in the Resistance waging war against Skynet after it destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, who is destined to become humanity's leader. Director McG deemed Bale "the most credible action star in the world" during development. McG wanted Bale for Marcus, but the actor — for reasons he "can't really remember why" — wanted to play John, and that led to the character's role getting expanded in rewrites of the script. Bale was the first person to be cast and signed on for the role in November 2007. McG talked extensively with Bale in the UK about the role while the latter was filming The Dark Knight, and they both agreed to proceed. Although a fan of the Terminator series, he was at first uninterested, until McG convinced him the story would be character-based and not rely on special effects. They kept working on the story every day, along with Worthington. McG said Bale broke his hand punching a Terminator prop during filming. Bale also spent six to eight hours each day with McG in the editing room to advise the finished product.

Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright: A mysterious man on death row for murder who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems for experimentation. He awakens fifteen years after his alleged execution and later discovers Skynet enhanced him to be a new type of human-terminator hybrid and thus the perfect infiltrator, his purpose was apparently to identify Kyle Reese and John Connor and lead them into a trap as even though he is unaware of it Skynet can see and hear through him. Though he possesses a robotic body, he is more human in behavior and nature since he has a functioning biological system and a wholly independent will. His last memory is of being on death row, and John is at first unsure of whether Wright is trustworthy. Terminator creator James Cameron personally recommended Worthington (whom he directed in Avatar) to McG. Russell Crowe also recommended him to McG. McG decided Worthington looked tougher than the "great many of today's [waify] young male actors". Worthington recalled Cameron told him "the Terminator to make is the one with the war". Worthington tore his intercostal muscles during the first weeks of filming, but he nevertheless insisted on performing his own stunts. McG had originally asked Christian Bale to play the role, but the latter insisted on portraying John instead, and to expand the character's role. The former once expressed interest in casting Daniel Day-Lewis or Josh Brolin in the part as well. Brolin did talk to Bale and read a draft of the screenplay, which he found "interesting and dark, [but] ultimately, though, I didn't think it felt right".

Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese: A teenage soldier and admirer of John Connor. As portrayed by Michael Biehn in The Terminator, he was sent back in time to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor to ensure the survival of the human race, and fathered John with her. Yelchin said he wanted to portray Reese as Biehn did and not make him appear weaker because it was a younger version of the character. The difference in his portrayal lies in showing Reese as intense, but not concentrated until he joins the resistance proper. Yelchin tried to convey Reese's intensity by focusing on how fast Biehn appeared when running in the original film.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor: John's wife, who is seven months pregnant. Charlotte Gainsbourg was originally set to play the part, but left due to scheduling conflicts with another film. As portrayed by Claire Danes in the third film, Kate was a veterinarian; but in this film, she is now a physician. Howard suggested, as part of the character's backstory, that Kate studied medical books and interviewed many surviving doctors after the events of Judgment Day. The film's subject matter reminded her of developing countries, devastated by war and lack basic supplies such as clean water, which "reflects things that are going on currently in this privileged world that we're living in where there hasn't been an apocalypse and robots haven't taken over the world. I think that's something definitely for us to reinvestigate and that we continue to make choices for our own future to take that into consideration". Howard also focused on Kate "being accustomed to fear and loss" because the character was a military brat.

Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams: Suffering from survivor's guilt, the battle-hardened fighter pilot in John’s resistance cell continues the legacy of tough-as-nails female characters, like Sarah Connor, of the Terminator franchise. After being shot down by Skynet’s aerial forces, Blair is aided by Marcus and the two become fast friends on their way to rendezvousing with John Connor and his team. Her instincts —honed from years surviving in the wastelands and flying countless combat missions —lead her to trust Marcus, despite growing suspicions in John’s inner circle about the mysterious stranger’s motives. She is the romantic interest for Marcus.

Common as Barnes: A resistance soldier and John's second in command. A deeply religious individual, Barnes believes that Judgment Day was the beginning of the End Times as outlined in the Bible and that Skynet is the anti-Christ. His spiritual beliefs make Barnes follow the messiah-like John into even the most hopeless of situations—and lead him even to disobey orders from higher ranking resistance leaders to do so.

Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Serena Kogan: Before Judgment Day, Serena was an ex-Cyberdyne scientist with terminal cancer working on advanced technology, convincing Marcus to donate his body to Project Angel for her "research", which will fall into the hands of Skynet. Tilda Swinton was originally considered for the part, but Bonham Carter replaced her before filming. She accepted the part because her boyfriend, Tim Burton, is a Terminator fan. Her role was a "small but pivotal" one and would only require ten days of shooting. On August 22, 2008, Bonham Carter delayed filming by a day, and was given an indefinite leave due to the death of four of her family members in a minibus accident in South Africa.

Arnold Schwarzenegger & Roland Kickinger as the T-800 Model 101: The first Terminator covered in living human tissue built as Skynet's newest weapon for the extermination of humankind. Schwarzenegger reprised his role via CGI facials, while the Austrian bodybuilder Kickinger, who previously portrayed Schwarzenegger in the 2005 biographical film See Arnold Run, was his double on set, for which a mold of the former — from 1984 — was scanned to create Kickinger's digital resemblance to the actor. When asked about his role, Kickinger said it's "Arnold's character in the first Terminator. That's basically my role, but 20 years before, so it establishes how the Terminator came about." Polish strongman athlete Mariusz Pudzianowski was also considered for doubling Schwarzenegger. If Schwarzenegger had decided not to lend his appearance to the film, then John would have shot the T-800's face off before the audience got a good look at him.

Brian Steele as a T-600:
Jadagrace Berry as Star: A girl in Reese's care.
Chris Ashworth as Richter:
Chris Browning as Morrison:
Michael Ironside as General Ashdown: The resistance leader before John.
Jane Alexander as Virginia: A refugee.
Terry Crews as Captain Jericho:
Linda Hamilton has been confirmed to lend her voice as Sarah Connor. Her voice is heard from tapes Sarah recorded before her death prior to the film's events to warn John of the future war.

Production

Development

In 1999, two years after C2 Pictures purchased the rights to the franchise, two Terminator films' premises were mapped out and were supposed to be developed simultaneously. Tedi Sarafian was hired to write Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which he eventually received shared story credit for, while David C. Wilson was to write Terminator 4. Before any revisions were done, T3 initially took place in 2001 and revolved around the first attacks between Skynet and humans. T4 would follow immediately afterwards and centered primarily on the war seen in the first two movies. Warner Bros. gave the film the codename "Project Angel".

Following the release of Terminator 3 in 2003, producers Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar contracted Nick Stahl and Claire Danes to return as John Connor and Kate Brewster in another film. Director Jonathan Mostow helped develop the script, written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, and was set to begin production in 2005 after completing another film. It was known by then Arnold Schwarzenegger's role would be limited, having assumed office as Governor of California. The producers sought to have Warner Bros. finance the picture as they did for Terminator 3. In 2005, Stahl said John and Kate would be recast as the story jumped forward in time. By 2006, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, distributor of the original film The Terminator, was set to distribute the fourth film as part of the new CEO Harry Sloan's scheme to make the studio a viable Hollywood player.

On May 9, 2007, it was announced that production rights to the Terminator series had passed from the feuding Vajna and Kassar to the Halcyon Company. The producers hoped to start a new trilogy based on the franchise. By July 19, the project was in legal limbo due to a lawsuit between MGM and Halcyon subsidiary T Asset. MGM had an exclusive window of 30 days to negotiate for distribution of the Terminator films. When negotiating for Terminator 4, Halcyon rejected their initial proposal, and MGM suspended negotiations. After the 30 days were over, MGM claimed that the period during which negotiations were suspended did not count and their exclusive period was still open. Halcyon asked a court for an injunction allowing them to approach other distributors.

Writing

McG signed on to direct as the first two films were among his favorites, and he had even cast Robert Patrick (who played the T-1000) in his films. Though he was initially unsure about "flogging a dead horse," he felt the post-apocalyptic setting allowed the film to be different enough so to not be an inferior sequel. The idea that events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3 altered the future also allowed them to be flexible with their presentation of the futuristic world. McG met with the series' co-creator James Cameron, and, although he neither blessed nor cursed the project, Cameron told the new director he had faced a similar challenge when following Ridley Scott's Alien with Aliens. He maintained two elements of the previous films; that John is an outsider to the authorities, and someone of future importance is being protected, and in this film it is Kyle Reese.

The first full screenplay for the film was written by Terminator 3 writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who received full screenplay credit. Paul Haggis rewrote Brancato and Ferris's script, and Shawn Ryan made another revision three weeks before filming. Jonathan Nolan also wrote on set, which led to McG characterizing his work on the script as the most important; he chose to contribute to the film after Bale signed on and created Connor's arc of becoming a leader. Anthony E. Zuiker contributed to the script as well. So extensive were the rewrites that Alan Dean Foster decided to rewrite the entire novelization after submitting it to his publisher, because the compiled shooting script was very different from the one he was given beforehand.

Cast

Christian Bale as John Connor: A soldier in the Resistance waging war against Skynet after it destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust, who is destined to become humanity's leader. Director McG deemed Bale "the most credible action star in the world" during development. McG wanted Bale for Marcus, but the actor — for reasons he "can't really remember why" — wanted to play John, and that led to the character's role getting expanded in rewrites of the script. Bale was the first person to be cast and signed on for the role in November 2007. McG talked extensively with Bale in the UK about the role while the latter was filming The Dark Knight, and they both agreed to proceed. Although a fan of the Terminator series, he was at first uninterested, until McG convinced him the story would be character-based and not rely on special effects. They kept working on the story every day, along with Worthington. McG said Bale broke his hand punching a Terminator prop during filming. Bale also spent six to eight hours each day with McG in the editing room to advise the finished product.

Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright: A mysterious man on death row for murder who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems for experimentation. He awakens fifteen years after his alleged execution and later discovers Skynet enhanced him to be a new type of human-terminator hybrid and thus the perfect infiltrator, his purpose was apparently to identify Kyle Reese and John Connor and lead them into a trap as even though he is unaware of it Skynet can see and hear through him. Though he possesses a robotic body, he is more human in behavior and nature since he has a functioning biological system and a wholly independent will. His last memory is of being on death row, and John is at first unsure of whether Wright is trustworthy. Terminator creator James Cameron personally recommended Worthington (whom he directed in Avatar) to McG. Russell Crowe also recommended him to McG. McG decided Worthington looked tougher than the "great many of today's [waify] young male actors". Worthington recalled Cameron told him "the Terminator to make is the one with the war". Worthington tore his intercostal muscles during the first weeks of filming, but he nevertheless insisted on performing his own stunts. McG had originally asked Christian Bale to play the role, but the latter insisted on portraying John instead, and to expand the character's role. The former once expressed interest in casting Daniel Day-Lewis or Josh Brolin in the part as well. Brolin did talk to Bale and read a draft of the screenplay, which he found "interesting and dark, [but] ultimately, though, I didn't think it felt right".

Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese: A teenage soldier and admirer of John Connor. As portrayed by Michael Biehn in The Terminator, he was sent back in time to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor to ensure the survival of the human race, and fathered John with her. Yelchin said he wanted to portray Reese as Biehn did and not make him appear weaker because it was a younger version of the character. The difference in his portrayal lies in showing Reese as intense, but not concentrated until he joins the resistance proper. Yelchin tried to convey Reese's intensity by focusing on how fast Biehn appeared when running in the original film.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor: John's wife, who is seven months pregnant. Charlotte Gainsbourg was originally set to play the part, but left due to scheduling conflicts with another film. As portrayed by Claire Danes in the third film, Kate was a veterinarian; but in this film, she is now a physician. Howard suggested, as part of the character's backstory, that Kate studied medical books and interviewed many surviving doctors after the events of Judgment Day. The film's subject matter reminded her of developing countries, devastated by war and lack basic supplies such as clean water, which "reflects things that are going on currently in this privileged world that we're living in where there hasn't been an apocalypse and robots haven't taken over the world. I think that's something definitely for us to reinvestigate and that we continue to make choices for our own future to take that into consideration". Howard also focused on Kate "being accustomed to fear and loss" because the character was a military brat.

Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams: Suffering from survivor's guilt, the battle-hardened fighter pilot in John’s resistance cell continues the legacy of tough-as-nails female characters, like Sarah Connor, of the Terminator franchise. After being shot down by Skynet’s aerial forces, Blair is aided by Marcus and the two become fast friends on their way to rendezvousing with John Connor and his team. Her instincts —honed from years surviving in the wastelands and flying countless combat missions —lead her to trust Marcus, despite growing suspicions in John’s inner circle about the mysterious stranger’s motives. She is the romantic interest for Marcus.

Common as Barnes: A resistance soldier and John's second in command. A deeply religious individual, Barnes believes that Judgment Day was the beginning of the End Times as outlined in the Bible and that Skynet is the anti-Christ. His spiritual beliefs make Barnes follow the messiah-like John into even the most hopeless of situations—and lead him even to disobey orders from higher ranking resistance leaders to do so.

Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Serena Kogan: Before Judgment Day, Serena was an ex-Cyberdyne scientist with terminal cancer working on advanced technology, convincing Marcus to donate his body to Project Angel for her "research", which will fall into the hands of Skynet. Tilda Swinton was originally considered for the part, but Bonham Carter replaced her before filming. She accepted the part because her boyfriend, Tim Burton, is a Terminator fan. Her role was a "small but pivotal" one and would only require ten days of shooting. On August 22, 2008, Bonham Carter delayed filming by a day, and was given an indefinite leave due to the death of four of her family members in a minibus accident in South Africa.

Arnold Schwarzenegger & Roland Kickinger as the T-800 Model 101: The first Terminator covered in living human tissue built as Skynet's newest weapon for the extermination of humankind. Schwarzenegger reprised his role via CGI facials, while the Austrian bodybuilder Kickinger, who previously portrayed Schwarzenegger in the 2005 biographical film See Arnold Run, was his double on set, for which a mold of the former — from 1984 — was scanned to create Kickinger's digital resemblance to the actor. When asked about his role, Kickinger said it's "Arnold's character in the first Terminator. That's basically my role, but 20 years before, so it establishes how the Terminator came about." Polish strongman athlete Mariusz Pudzianowski was also considered for doubling Schwarzenegger. If Schwarzenegger had decided not to lend his appearance to the film, then John would have shot the T-800's face off before the audience got a good look at him.

Brian Steele as a T-600:
Jadagrace Berry as Star: A girl in Reese's care.
Chris Ashworth as Richter:
Chris Browning as Morrison:
Michael Ironside as General Ashdown: The resistance leader before John.
Jane Alexander as Virginia: A refugee.
Terry Crews as Captain Jericho:
Linda Hamilton has been confirmed to lend her voice as Sarah Connor. Her voice is heard from tapes Sarah recorded before her death prior to the film's events to warn John of the future war.

Production

Development

In 1999, two years after C2 Pictures purchased the rights to the franchise, two Terminator films' premises were mapped out and were supposed to be developed simultaneously. Tedi Sarafian was hired to write Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which he eventually received shared story credit for, while David C. Wilson was to write Terminator 4. Before any revisions were done, T3 initially took place in 2001 and revolved around the first attacks between Skynet and humans. T4 would follow immediately afterwards and centered primarily on the war seen in the first two movies. Warner Bros. gave the film the codename "Project Angel".

Following the release of Terminator 3 in 2003, producers Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar contracted Nick Stahl and Claire Danes to return as John Connor and Kate Brewster in another film. Director Jonathan Mostow helped develop the script, written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, and was set to begin production in 2005 after completing another film. It was known by then Arnold Schwarzenegger's role would be limited, having assumed office as Governor of California. The producers sought to have Warner Bros. finance the picture as they did for Terminator 3. In 2005, Stahl said John and Kate would be recast as the story jumped forward in time. By 2006, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, distributor of the original film The Terminator, was set to distribute the fourth film as part of the new CEO Harry Sloan's scheme to make the studio a viable Hollywood player.

On May 9, 2007, it was announced that production rights to the Terminator series had passed from the feuding Vajna and Kassar to the Halcyon Company. The producers hoped to start a new trilogy based on the franchise. By July 19, the project was in legal limbo due to a lawsuit between MGM and Halcyon subsidiary T Asset. MGM had an exclusive window of 30 days to negotiate for distribution of the Terminator films. When negotiating for Terminator 4, Halcyon rejected their initial proposal, and MGM suspended negotiations. After the 30 days were over, MGM claimed that the period during which negotiations were suspended did not count and their exclusive period was still open. Halcyon asked a court for an injunction allowing them to approach other distributors.

Writing

McG signed on to direct as the first two films were among his favorites, and he had even cast Robert Patrick (who played the T-1000) in his films. Though he was initially unsure about "flogging a dead horse," he felt the post-apocalyptic setting allowed the film to be different enough so to not be an inferior sequel. The idea that events in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3 altered the future also allowed them to be flexible with their presentation of the futuristic world. McG met with the series' co-creator James Cameron, and, although he neither blessed nor cursed the project, Cameron told the new director he had faced a similar challenge when following Ridley Scott's Alien with Aliens. He maintained two elements of the previous films; that John is an outsider to the authorities, and someone of future importance is being protected, and in this film it is Kyle Reese.

The first full screenplay for the film was written by Terminator 3 writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who received full screenplay credit. Paul Haggis rewrote Brancato and Ferris's script, and Shawn Ryan made another revision three weeks before filming. Jonathan Nolan also wrote on set, which led to McG characterizing his work on the script as the most important; he chose to contribute to the film after Bale signed on and created Connor's arc of becoming a leader.Anthony E. Zuiker contributed to the script as well. So extensive were the rewrites that Alan Dean Foster decided to rewrite the entire novelization after submitting it to his publisher, because the compiled shooting script was very different from the one he was given beforehand.

Lawsuit

In March 2009, producer Moritz Borman filed a lawsuit against the Halcyon Company, seeking $160 million. Borman, who had arranged the transfer of the Terminator rights to Halcyon in May 2007, stated the company's two managers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek had "hijacked" the production and refused to give him his $2.5 million share of the production. Borman alleged budget overruns were the reasons Anderson and Kubicek did not pay him and that they had $1 million in debt. Nevertheless, an "amicable" resolution was reached a month later.

Release

The film was released in the U.S. on May 21, 2009 with Warner Bros. setting the American premiere on May 14, 2009 at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Elsewhere, Sony Pictures Entertainment will release the film in most overseas territories on different dates in June. One exception is Mexico, however, because of the swine flu outbreak in the country, which forced Sony to push the release date to July 31, 2009.

It is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action, and language, unlike the previous R-rated films. The decision was made to rate the film PG-13 after agreeing to cut out a shot of Marcus stabbing a thug with a screwdriver, as McG felt disallowing the young audience due to that one shot was unfair. He also deleted a topless scene for Moon Bloodgood because "It was a soft moment between a man and a woman that was designed to echo the Kelly McGillis/Harrison Ford moment in Witness [but] in the end, it felt more like a gratuitous moment of a girl taking her top off in an action picture, and I didn't want that to convolute the story or the characters." The producers had expected the rating because of the modern leniency towards violence in PG-13 films, such as Live Free or Die Hard.

Box office

The film's first nationwide U.S. screenings were at 12 A.M. on Thursday, May 21, 2009, making about $3 million from midnight screenings. Within this first day the film earned about $13.3 million. This opening placed it 20th on the list of all-time Thursday box office grosses within the United States. The movie grossed an additional $42,558,390 on its 4-day Memorial Day opening weekend and debuted at #2 behind Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Its opening weekend grossed less than its predecessor. The film's five-day total is at $65,316,217 million.

Reception

The film has received mixed reviews from critics. It currently holds a 33% rating and an average rating of 5.1 on Rotten Tomatoes from 171 reviews. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, has an average of 51 collected from 33 reviews.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a 2 out of 4 stars, saying that "After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours." Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film isn't the same without Arnold Schwarzenegger and that it misses its dramatic element. Likewise, Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film a 2/4 and called it "predictable" with the "dramatic elements flat-lin[ing]." She noted that Christian Bale's performance was "one-dimensional," but Sam Worthington's and Anton Yelchin's were better.

Total Film's review gave the movie 4/5 with its verdict: "The Terminator story recharges with a post-apocalyptic jolt of energy. Frantic and full of welcome ties to the past, it also ploughs new ground with purpose. Fingers crossed McG will follow Cameron’s lead and serve up a worthy sequel..." Pete Hammond of Hollywood.com also gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing that "[McG] pulls it off with first-rate action set pieces, flawless production values and a fascinating new wrinkle in Marcus Wright." Devin Faraci of Empire magazine, too, gave a positive rating of four out of five stars, saying: "McG has sparked a moribund franchise back to life, giving fans the post-apocalyptic action they’ve been craving since they first saw a metal foot crush a human skull two decades ago." However, on CHUD, he said "Bale's desire to star as John Connor was probably the most fatal blow to the film; it completely distorted the shape of the story as it existed." Furthermore, he expresses that the third act was when the film began falling apart, saying how "McG and Nolan muddied the end of the picture, delivering action generics (yet another Terminator fight in a factory) while never finding their own hook that would give this movie more of an impact than you would get from an expanded universe novel."

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times stated that "[Bale's] strengths do not serve him, or the movie, as well here" and that "when the story starts to crumble around Bale, Worthington is there to pick up the pieces." A.O. Scott of the New York Times said the film has "a brute integrity lacking in some of the other seasonal franchise movies" and "efficient, reasonably swift storytelling." Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz gave the film a "See It" and "Skip It," respectively, on their show At the Movies with the latter mentioning that it "is the worst big budget summer release I’ve seen in some time."

Tie-ins

In addition to the novelization by Alan Dean Foster, a prequel novel titled From the Ashes by Timothy Zahn was released. IDW Publishing released a four-issue prequel comic, as well as an adaptation. It follows Connor rallying together the resistance in 2017, as well as examining normal people overcoming their intolerances to defeat Skynet. Playmates Toys, Sideshow Collectibles, Hot Toys, Character Options, and DC Unlimited produced merchandise,while Chrysler, Sony, Pizza Hut, and 7-Eleven are among the product placement partners. On May 23, 2009, a roller coaster named after the film opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain. .

A third-person shooter video game of the same name coincided on the same week of the release of the film. Christian Bale declined to lend his voice, so Gideon Emery lent his voice as John Connor. The game, however, features the voices of Common and Moon Bloodgood as Barnes and Blair Williams, respectively. Despite not appearing in the film, Rose McGowan voiced the character of Angie Salter, an ex-high school teacher. The game is set in 2016, after the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and before the events of Terminator Salvation.


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