EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Paramount and director Alan Taylor are looking closely at Emilia Clarke and Brie Larson to play the role of Sarah Connor in the Terminator reboot that is being assembled for a July, 2015 release. Both actresses have tested for the producers, and they are the frontrunners. I have heard that Clarke has an edge, and that would not be surprising. Before Taylor helmed Thor: The Dark World, he directed Clarke in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. She, of course, plays the unforgettable dragon-commanding heroine Daenerys Targaryen in that massive HBO series, and has demonstrated the mettle to capably play one of the screen’s most formidable heroines as originated by Linda Hamilton in James Cameron’s first two films in the series.
Larson is emerging from distinguished work on the indie film circuit that this year includes Short Term 12 and The Spectacular Now. She also did 21 Jump Street, and she’s attached to star in the remake of The Gambler. I’ve also heard that Kyle Reese, played by Michael Biehn in the original film, will be a character in this version, as will John Connor, so it seems like a jump into the future might be part of the plot line. The completion of this franchise is expected to span at least two films. They are casting the Sarah Connor role before Reese and … Read More »
The newly titled Transformers: Age Of Extinction will open on June 27, 2014, Paramount said today in announcing some tweaks to its release schedule. The fourth pic in the franchise is being directed by Michael Bay and stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz, Sophia Myles, TJ Miller, Titus Welliver, Han Geng and Li Bingbing and is currently in production. The studio scooped itself a bit when it unveiled the new title and release date in some key art at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, Terminator, the franchise reboot from Skydance and Annapurna Pictures, has been bumped back from June 26, 2015 to a Wednesday, July 1. That puts it in the Fourth of July weekend wheelhouse along with Fox’s Independence Day sequel and an under-wraps animated pic from Illumination Entertainment. Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, previously scheduled for a limited release November 22, 2013, will now open November 15 as it continues its fall festival swing.
Thor 2 director Alan Taylor is in talks to helm Terminator, the franchise relaunch from Paramount, Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures. Three pics are planned to star Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the first one set for release June 26, 2015. Taylor made his mark in TV with credits including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Nurse Jackie. The Marvel sequel Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8. Variety first reported the talks.
RELATED: Megan And David Ellison Will Each Pay 33% Of ‘Terminator’ Costs; Paramount Paying The Rest To Bring Arnold Back
Paramount has confirmed the long in the works deal to cofinance and distribute the reboot of James Cameron’s Terminator franchise creation. Highbrow picture maker Megan Ellison spent over $20 million for the rights in 2011, and the project didn’t go very far. Things finally started percolating when Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures joined forces with brother David Ellison, whose Skydance Productions has a deal with Paramount and makes popcorn movies. Avatar’s Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier have been working on the script for months. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the title character and the hope is to get at least two movies done before North American copyright reverts back to Cameron, who might want a fortune or might want to retire the franchise. Here’s the announcement:
Skydance Productions, Annapurna Pictures and Paramount Pictures have jointly announced they will partner on a rebooted “TERMINATOR” movie, to be released by Paramount Pictures on June 26, 2015.
The first in a stand-alone trilogy, “TERMINATOR” will be produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna and David Ellison of Skydance. Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake of Skydance will serve as executive producers. Laeta Kalorgridis (“Avatar,” “Shutter Island”) and Patrick Lussier (“Drive Angry”) are attached to write the screenplay.
Launched in 1984 with star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the title character, “TERMINATOR” spanned 3 subsequent films, which have earned over
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE DETAILS: A spate of reports of movement on The Terminator franchise is a good sign that the franchise is finally starting to percolate again. I’ve learned that each Ellison — David and Megan, both scions of Oracle chief Larry Ellison — will finance 33% of the film’s budget, with Paramount finding the remaining third. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself said yesterday during an appearance in Sydney that he’s coming back and the movie will start shooting in January. None of this is really a surprise: Back in December, Megan Ellison, who’d spent $20 million to buy The Terminator sequel rights during 2011 Cannes, partnered on the franchise with her brother David. She makes prestige films and he makes popcorn fare like Star Trek and Mission: Impossible sequels, so the union made sense. The Wrap claimed an exclusive that Paramount would be the distributor. Well, through Skydance Productions, David makes all his movies with Paramount, so it was kind of obvious the films would likely land there. Skydance and Paramount are just coming through the gigantic ordeal of making World War Z, which, despite a massive budget, looks like it will do some serious global business.
As for Schwarzenegger, he’s been attached since back in May 2011, when Megan Ellison beat out Lionsgate and paid around $20 million for the franchise. She bought it from Pacificor, which had paid $29.5 million to pull the property out of bankruptcy. The latest rumor is that Megan Ellison would make a hail mary pass attempt to draft her Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow. That would be a coup, but it’s being denied, which means either that it’s not true, or Bigelow passed already. The project has been director-less since Fast 6‘s Justin Lin bowed out of the project when it was being developed solely by Megan Ellison. I met Lin at Sundance and he made it clear he wouldn’t return because he was not involved in the development of the script. Ellison in January hired Avatar and Shutter Island‘s Laeta Kalogridis and My Bloody Valentine‘s Patrick Lussier to write the script, so it stands to reason that the film should be ready to shoot by early next year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures have set Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to script the next installment of The Terminator franchise.
Her credits include Avatar, Shutter Island and Alexander, produced White House Down. Lussier scripted Wes Craven’s Dracula and directed My Bloody Valentine. Skydance’s David Ellison recently hired the scribes to write an original scifi adventure film, with an idea initiated by Skydance. Megan Ellison paid a fortune for the rights several years ago, and recently teamed with brother David, whose company finds big ticket action films like Terminator to be in its wheelhouse. David, who just produced Jack Reacher, had the relationship with the scribes, though interestingly Kalogridis also is tight with Terminator creator James Cameron. Megan Ellison is in the thick of the Oscar race with Zero Dark Thirty and The Master.
EXCLUSIVE: Nearly 18 months after Megan Ellison pledged over $20 million for the rights to finish The Terminator‘s humanity vs the Skynet cyborgs storyline with a new series of films, she has finally closed the complicated rights deal with Pacificorp. Other than the fact no progress has been made all this time on a script, the surprise here is Ellison has enlisted her brother, David Ellison, to be her financial and creative partner. There is still no studio attached, but future Terminator films will be done as a co-production between her Annapurna Pictures and his Skydance Productions. The Ellisons will produce, while Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake and Ted Schipper will be exec producers.
Even though Pacificorp spent $29.5 million several years ago to win the rights after Halcyon turned them over to bankruptcy court, insiders tell me that the big numbers in place 18 months ago have been adjusted downward. That is because of the uncomfortable specter of a ticking clock that has continued to wind down as no forward progress was being made. New copyright laws allow for North American rights to The Terminator to revert back to creator James Cameron in 2019 (that happens after 35 years, and The Terminator was 1984). While that law hasn’t been tested in the courts, no major film company would want to move forward on a project with a potentially catastrophic rights crisis looming. So the original pricey deal — made with the expectations there would be three films — was scaled down because the reality is they might only get to make two installments. Four films have been made so far, the first two directed by Cameron, another by Jonathan Mostow and the last, 2009′s Terminator Salvation, helmed by McG. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Things are starting to move on The Terminator franchise, but a plan by rights owner Megan Ellison and Arnold Schwarzenegger to put the first of two pictures in production for the fourth quarter of 2012 has forced director Justin Lin to drop out. But borrowing the film’s signature phrase “I’ll be back,” Lin has left the door open to a return if Ellison and Schwarzenegger will wait until he completes the sixth installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise.
The Terminator franchise has been under the radar since Ellison’s Annapurna Films spent over $20 million to buy film rights during the Cannes Film Festival, with Lin and Schwarzenegger attached. Lin wants to make the film but simply won’t be available, the same situation that prompted him to withdraw from Summit’s Highlander. Lin has been working closely with Schwarzenegger and Ellison to figure a way to end the James Cameron-hatched battle between humans and the cyborgs of Skynet. It would require some effort for Ellison to get the film underway by late next year. She hasn’t got a script and I don’t think she’s even hired a screenwriter yet. She also hasn’t set a studio partner, even though several are interested. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Megan Ellison has won an auction for the rights to make at least two more installments of The Terminator franchise, with Fast Five’s Justin Lin attached to direct and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to star. The deal came down to Ellison’s Annapurna Films and Lionsgate, which seemed to have had the project sewn up until she came forward with a dramatic bid. The auction at the time was for a guarantee for at least half of the $29.5 million paid by hedge fund Pacificor to pull the franchise out of bankruptcy. Unclear what the winning amount was, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit the $20 million mark. CAA brokered the deal.
Deadline revealed the two finalists in the auction on Wednesday, and I’m told that the deal closed late Thursday. Ellison, the daughter or Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and sister of Paramount-based Skydance producer/financier David Ellison, is winging her way to Cannes right now. She has a lot going on here. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A high-stakes battle is being waged for the right to relaunch The Terminator, with Fast Five helmer Justin Lin attached to direct and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to reprise his signature role in one of filmdom’s most iconic franchises. Yesterday, it looked like Lionsgate would win the property with an outright purchase, with an upfront payment of at least half of the $29.5 million that Pacificor spent to claim the property in a bankruptcy auction. That was until Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Films came in with a bid that was higher. They are now fighting it out. As she usually does when she commits to a film, Ellison is staking that amount without having a distributor locked in place.
As Deadline revealed late last month, CAA brought out the package to the town, the first real activity on The Terminator project since February 2010, when the property emerged from a bankruptcy auction and into the possession of Pacificor. While there were several dealmaking scenarios offered, including an option and first dollar gross fees, it’s understandable why an outright purchase would be most attractive to the rights holders.
The Santa Barbara-based hedge fund posted a bid of $29.5 million, with the promise that additional multimillion-dollar payments for each film would go to Halcyon, the company that made the 2009 McG-directed Terminator Salvation. That’s a lot of money to lay out for an extended period of time, with interest costs rising.
I’m told that the deal will close shortly, and that the project could become another hot Schwarzenegger title at the Cannes Film Festival market that’s just getting under way. It would be the third Schwarzenegger movie there. Lionsgate also has Schwarzenegger in the action film The Last Stand, set up as the English language debut of Kim–ji-Woon. Schwarzenegger is also at the center of a QED-funded project that Schwarzenegger is also attached to star in, Cry Macho. Lionsgate has long been interested in extending the James Cameron-created universe of Skynet, John and Sara Connor, and the indestructible cyborgs. In fact, when Halcyon ran out of money and went into bankruptcy, Pacificor beat out a combined bid by Lionsgate and Sony planning to make back-to-back sequels to bring the franchise to a natural creative conclusion. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: He’s baaack! Arnold Schwarzenegger is attached to star in a rights package that CAA is shopping today that will revive The Terminator, one of Hollywood’s most iconic scifi franchises. The agency is dropping the package on studios this afternoon. I’m told that already, Universal, Sony and Lionsgate, and CBS Films are looking hard at the package. There is no screenwriter attached at this point, and Robert Cort is producing. This is the first real activity on The Terminator project since February 2010, when the property emerged from a bankruptcy auction and into the possession of Pacificor. The Santa Barbara-based hedge fund posted a bid of $29.5 million, with the promise that additional multimillion-dollar payments for each film would go to Halcyon, the company that made the 2009 McG-directed Terminator Salvation. That film starred Sam Worthington as the cyborg and Christian Bale as John Connor, and the storyline launched the battle between Skynet and the human survivors of the apocalypse, the war foreshadowed in James Cameron’s visionary 1984 original film. Halcyon wanted to make several films but ran out of money. At the time of the auction, Pacificor beat out a combined bid by Lionsgate and Sony planning to make back-to-back sequels to bring the franchise to a natural creative conclusion.
While many felt at the time that Pacificor overpaid and that Lionsgate and Sony would have been better matches for the material, CAA has chosen an optimum time to seek a new deal. I wrote back in February that Universal quietly was trying to arrange for Lin to be helmer of the project. At the time, some turned up their noses. Given the strong international grosses being racked up by Fast Five and the expectations for a strong domestic opening this Friday, Lin has a lot of heat. And Schwarzenegger is looking to recapture past marquee glory ending his run as California State Governor. Schwarzenegger has circled several projects including Last Stand for Lionsgate, but here, he’s the star, returning to the signature role that once established him as the world’s biggest movie star. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger left the Governor’s Mansion and Tweeted his desire to resume his acting career, there seems to finally be some action on his signature franchise, The Terminator. I’m told that interest is kicking back up. One interested party: Universal, which is looking for a directing vehicle for Justin Lin. He helmed the last three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise, including the latest Fast Five, which Universal releases April 29. I’ve heard that the plan would be to possibly pair him with Chris Morgan, who aside from Fast Five has credits on big scale Universal films that include the upcoming Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin and Wanted.
Since being acquired in bankruptcy court last February by Santa Monica-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million, The Terminator has maintained radio silence, surprising given the voracious studio appetite for branded tent pole projects that lend themselves to 3D technology. Part of the reason was the subpar results of the last film, but also the bankruptcy auction which left the two most likely distributors, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, walking away in disgust. Pacificor, one of the debt holders that forced Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson into bankruptcy, was the surprise winner, bidding close to the $30 million that Kubicek and Anderson paid to acquire the rights back in 2007 from producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar.
While the bankruptcy approval left open … Read More »
UPDATE: Hannover House’s Eric Parkinson said that he just got his cease and desist letter, and then told Pacificor’s attorneys of his proprietary rights position, and the fact that he’s got backers in place to make a movie and deliver a big rights fee to Pacificor. “We’ve arranged a meeting, we’ll show them our money and if the rational brain prevails, they’ll take the deal. If not, I can’t do it without them. You’ll have a followup next week that we are either holding hands, or not doing the film. At least we now have our meeting. I hope they will can think outside the box, because if we can make a movie that delivers a $20 million to $30 million rights payment, that is an income source they didn’t realize was possible. If not, it was a good idea anyway.”
EXCLUSIVE: A battle is brewing over Terminator 3000, a proposed 3D animated feature film that was announced by Hannover House, a division of Target Development Group that distributes specialty films and DVDs. Pacificor, the company that owns the rights to the Terminator franchise, has sent a cease and desist letter in response to a press release issued by Hannover House detailing plans to develop Terminator 3000, a $70 million animated film in conjunction with Vancouver-based Red Bear Entertainment. Hannover House CEO Eric Parkinson told me earlier today Read More »
Bedbugs have run rampant in New York City offices this summer (Bedbugs In CBS’ NY Offices), and Grand Central Publishing is the latest haunt to catch the bug. The publisher, whose Park Avenue offices near Grand Central Station are home to such bestselling authors as James Patterson, David Baldacci , Nelson DeMille and Nicholas Sparks, let staff know about the problem yesterday, and gave staffers the option of working from home today. There’s a corporate outing tomorrow that will keep the troops out of the office, and nobody works hard in the publishing industry on Fridays during the summer, anyway. The plan is to eradicate the critters and have the place back to normal Monday morning. A spokesperson said there is no infestation, but the decision was made to treat the problem chemically on Thursday, before it becomes a real problem. The bedbugs have found their way to hotels, agencies, and such places as satellite offices at CBS. These are nasty little critters that feed on human blood, and while vampire books continue to be the rage in publishing, this is taking things too far.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that WME just took away client Archie Comics from CAA. (“This is like Hasbro. CAA had Hasbro, and did nothing. And then CAA lost Hasbro to WME,” an insider tells me.) WME now also is representing the rights to The Terminator franchise on behalf of Santa Barbara-based hedge fund Pacifor LLC which had the winning $29.5 million bid, and a commitment of $5 million for each of three produced films. That deal was approved by the Los Angeles Bankruptcy judge.
UPDATES EXCLUSIVE: Wisher’s Take On ‘Terminator’
UPDATES Sony & Lionsgate Get Exclusive Negotiation
UPDATE: The exclusive negotiating window for Sony and Lionsgate has ended. The studios made their offer but are no longer in active talks.
9:05 AM EXCLUSIVE: In its first move since acquiring rights to The Terminator franchise from bankruptcy court, Pacifor LLC has hired Latham & Watkins LLP to handle all rights inquiries on the franchise. The Santa Barbara-based hedge fund won the rights for a $29.5 million bid, and a commitment of $5 million for each of three produced films. That deal was approved last Wednesday by Los Angeles Bankruptcy Judge Ernest M. Robles. Since Pacificor beat out a tag-team bid made by Sony’s Worldwide Acquisitions unit and Lionsgate, those studios secured an exclusive negotiating window from Pacificor. No other studios posted the $16M minimum to get into the final round of bidding — but that doesn’t mean other filmmakers won’t be enticed by a brand-named franchise. According to Pacificor reps, the hedge fund has been contacted by numerous studios, producers, financiers and agents interested in the rights. That prompted Pacificor to designate Latham partners Wayne Flick and Russell Sauer Jr as the point men on the deal.
UPDATES Judge Upholds ‘Terminator’ Sale; Sony & Lionsgate Get Exclusive Negotiation
EXCLUSIVE: Now that Pacificor has pulled the Terminator franchise out of bankruptcy, the question becomes: How to wrap up one of the great sci-fi franchises for hardcore fans who feel neither of the last two installments measured up to the first two that James Cameron directed? Cameron seems unlikely to return to the fold (even though Terminator would fit nicely into the portfolio of 3D films like Fantastic Voyage he’s producing.) But what if I told you his writing partner on the first two films, William Wisher, has scripted a detailed 24-page treatment for Terminator 5, and a 4-page concept outline for Terminator 6? And that I’ve read both?
As a Terminator fanboy myself, I think Wisher has done a terrific job with a plot that accepts the storylines from Jonathan Mostow’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and McG’s Terminator: Salvation. Most interestingly, he turns the story back to the core characters and time travel storyline of the first two films that Wisher crafted with Cameron. Gale Anne Hurd shared writing credit with Cameron on the original film while Wisher got an “additional dialogue by” credit, but I’m told he was plenty involved. He and Cameron shared screenwriting credit on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But Wisher walked away from the 3rd film out of loyalty to Cameron and had no … Read More »
UPDATES ‘TERMINATOR’ RIGHTS SELL FOR $29.5 MIL
A bankruptcy judge in U.S. District Court this morning approved the deal that gives the rights to the Terminator franchise to Santa Barbara-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million. Also OKed was a provision to pay another $5 million for each produced picture (up to 3) to the unsecured creditors, including holding company Halcyon which had to sell the rights when Pacificor pushed it into bankruptcy.
Now the focus is on who’ll actually get to make the Terminator features. We’ve learned that Pacificor has granted underbidders Sony and Lionsgate (who’ll remain partners in any transaction) an exclusive window to negotiate that. But our sources say no talks have begun as yet. It remains to be seen whether another studio will materialize to brgain, but none besides Sony and Lionsgate posted the $16 million minimum bid to get into the lightning round.
Today’s courtroom was filled with lawyers, including those from Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, which made the runner-up bid of $28.5 million. Also there were lawyers for anybody who had a piece of the franchise, including MGM, which sold off its contractual right of first negotiation to the bankruptcy court for just $150,000.