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: 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 »