Variety has an interesting article on the hazy future of the TERMINATOR franchise. Although Warner Brothers is opening TERMINATOR: SALVATION this Memorial Day Weekend, no distributor is set for the anticipated follow-up – making this the only summer franchise flick without a distribution deal locked in.
Basically, MGM has rights of first refusal, dating back to a lawsuit resulting from the bankruptcy of Orion, the company that handled the original TERMINATOR back in 1984. However, there is bad blood between MGM and the current TERMINATOR producers Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson of Halcyon, who accused MGM of interfering with their attempt to broker a deal with WB.
Whether MGM is even in a position to bid on a big-budget property like TERMINATOR is open to question, but there is no doubt that a fifth TERMINATOR would be less of a gamble than TERMINATOR: SALVATION, which is the first to be made without Arnold Schwarzenegger in a starring role.
“If Terminator Salvationmakes good on its current momentum, it will be one of the most sought-after franchises in town, and every distributor will be studying ways to approach the rights holder,” said David Molner, managing director of Screen Capital Intl. “Only time will tell whether pole position is enough for MGM to prevail in that contest.”