Producer Dan Lin on the Future of the TERMINATOR Franchise and the Ending of TERMINATOR SALVATION

by     Posted 4 years, 311 days ago

terminator_salvation_movie_image_factory_floor.jpg

Last night I posted the first of my “7 Days with Producer Dan Lin”.  As I explained yesterday, I spoke at length with the Sherlock Holmes producer about not only his latest film, but everything he has in development.  Since the conversation ran so long, I’ve decided to break up the interview into many smaller parts.  Yesterday we covered the Lego movie and Gangster Squad, and today it’s about the Terminator franchise.

As one of the executive producers of Terminator Salvation, I decided to ask Lin what he thought about the ending they released versus the one that got shelved due to it leaking on the internet.  I also asked him what’s the status of future Terminator movies and was Salvation a profitable experience for all parties.

Hit the jump for what he had to say:

christian_bale_stars_as_john_connor_and_sam_worthington_stars_as_marcus_wright__terminator_salvation.jpgThe first things we talked about was the ending of Salvation.  *spoiler alert* As most of you know, the original ending had Christian Bale dying and Sam Worthington replacing him as leader of the resistance.  But to keep the resistance troops in the dark, they were going to take the skin off Conner’s body and put it on Sam Worthington’s Marcus character.  That way Bale could continue to be the leader, even though he had died.  While many were happy to see that ending thrown out, I’m one of those people that thought it was kind of cool.

But according to Lin, “I’m happy with the way things turned out. It was a bit derivative of Face/Off, you know, when Sam Worthington’s character goes back and he comes back up as Christian Bale his face has been changed, so I think…I know we’ve all talked about who should live at the end, who should go on for the next movie but it wasn’t, in our opinion, that original ending was taken from other movies and wasn’t as fresh.”

The other thing we discussed was future Terminator movies and who owns the rights.  When I asked him the status he said:

“My understanding is that the rights are being sold. We’ll know more in the beginning of February. It’s being sold in an auction process. Several studios are bidding and independent financiers are bidding on the rights, but we won’t know until we go through the court auction process.”

terminator_salvation_movie_image_1234.jpgWhat this means is, the future of any Terminator movies won’t be known until the dust settles next year.

But the big question for future Terminator movies is…were they profitable for the studios that financed them.  After all, if the studios didn’t make any money, there won’t be any future movies no matter who owns the rights.

According to Lin, “My understanding is it was profitable for both studios. Warner Brothers domestically and also Sony internationally. But if you look at the numbers, clearly it was much bigger internationally than it was domestically, so I think it was probably more profitable for Sony than it was for Warner Brothers, but again I don’t look at their numbers.”

Here’s the transcript of our conversation regarding Terminator.  Look for a lot more from producer Dan Lin tomorrow night or Saturday.

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Collider: A lot got out about how the Terminator Salvation ending got changed. Personally, when I look back on Terminator now, the original ending that was going to be done with asking the question of what really makes you human seems like, honestly, the better ending vs. what was actually released. Do you, as a producer, you look back on that film and say maybe we should have done the other ending-the one we originally thought about, or are you happy with the way things turned out?

Dan Lin: I’m happy with the way things turned out. It was a bit derivative of Face/Off, you know, when Sam Worthington’s character goes back and he comes back up as Christian Bale his face has been changed, so I think…I know we’ve all talked about who should live at the end, who should go on for the next movie but it wasn’t, in our opinion, that original ending was taken from other movies and wasn’t as fresh.

Interesting. There’s been a lot of talk about if the ending hadn’t leaked online, would it have still been that ending? What ifs, if you will. There’s a lot of talk about lawsuits regarding Terminator, who owns the rights, etc, etc? Can you clarify what exactly is going on with future Terminator movies?

Producer Dan Lin, Alan Horn and Sam Worthington Terminator Salvation.jpgDan Lin: My understanding is that the rights are being sold. We’ll know more in the beginning of February. It’s being sold in an auction process. Several studios are bidding and independent financiers are bidding on the rights, but we won’t know until we go through the court auction process.

Does that mean that Warner Brothers has no sort of ownership in future Terminator movies?

Dan Lin: We don’t know yet. Warner Brothers may be one of the future studios bidding. I don’t know because I don’t work for Warner Brothers, but don’t know. The actual studios bidding have not made themselves public.

So there is nothing that can figured out for future Terminator movies until after the bidding process and then whatever studio gets the rights can then do…this is basically….

Dan Lin: This is my understanding. I’m not a lawyer but that’s my understanding. As far as active as active development from what I understand there’s no active development in future Terminator movies until the court proceedings are completed.

I completely get it. The movie cost $100 and something million to make. It made world-wide $300 and something, I think?

Dan Lin: Um-hum. Close at $375 I believe.

terminator_salvation_poster_chaingun.jpgWas it a “profitable” movie for all parties where there is excitement say on your end or from people who worked on the movie to once the rights are done, to possibly do another film?

Dan Lin: My understanding is it was profitable for both studios. Warner Brothers domestically and also Sony internationally. But if you look at the numbers clearly it was much bigger internationally than it was domestically, so I think it was probably more profitable for Sony than it was for Warner Brothers, but again I don’t look at their numbers. I don’t know. I’m guesstimating.

It’s very interesting that I use The Golden Compass conversation where if that movie had been owned by New Line worldwide, there would have been a sequel immediately, but because the foreign rights were owned by whoever and the domestic made no money, that movie is never having a sequel.

Dan Lin: Right, right.

That’s what I have been told.

Dan Lin: The Terminator franchise has always been huge internationally. It’s always been one that Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the first guys who went out and promoted movies abroad and really worked the tours. So, historically the franchise has always skewed more international than domestic and then certainly with this movie that showed the same pattern.




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  • jack

    seriously, ain’t he a little too young to be producing hollywood mega blockbusters? dude looks 16 or something.

  • jack

    seriously, ain’t he a little too young to be producing hollywood mega blockbusters? dude looks 16 or something.

  • jack

    seriously, ain’t he a little too young to be producing hollywood mega blockbusters? dude looks 16 or something.

  • Richard of Norway

    Wow is that young chap “of asian decent” him?? He looks so young! I can’t believe he’s involved with some of the biggest blockbuster movies of the decade. Lucky sap.
    Keep these coming! This one was too short. :)

  • Richard of Norway

    Wow is that young chap “of asian decent” him?? He looks so young! I can’t believe he’s involved with some of the biggest blockbuster movies of the decade. Lucky sap.
    Keep these coming! This one was too short. :)

  • Richard of Norway

    Wow is that young chap “of asian decent” him?? He looks so young! I can’t believe he’s involved with some of the biggest blockbuster movies of the decade. Lucky sap.
    Keep these coming! This one was too short. :)

  • KRB

    What’s with the “it’s my understanding”, “my understanding”…. and then some more “my understanding…” ??

  • KRB

    What’s with the “it’s my understanding”, “my understanding”…. and then some more “my understanding…” ??

  • KRB

    What’s with the “it’s my understanding”, “my understanding”…. and then some more “my understanding…” ??

  • Jeremo

    jack + KRB = epic fail.

  • Jeremo

    jack + KRB = epic fail.

  • Jeremo

    jack + KRB = epic fail.

  • vietgotrice

    his ending having killin John. Big mistake! Killing John would meant killing the whole series. The series has been about John and his story. guess he isn’t the biggest fan of the series.

  • vietgotrice

    his ending having killin John. Big mistake! Killing John would meant killing the whole series. The series has been about John and his story. guess he isn’t the biggest fan of the series.

  • vietgotrice

    his ending having killin John. Big mistake! Killing John would meant killing the whole series. The series has been about John and his story. guess he isn’t the biggest fan of the series.

    • Zinjo

      I have to agree that replacing Connor with a terminator not only negates the whole Cameron (and franchise) premise , but also contradicts Terminator 3 (of which I’m no fan)!

      McG’s arrogance would want such an ending, so he could “make it his own”, but the reality is that if such a thing would have happened, a better director, like what Brian Singer did with “Superman Returns”, would simply base their film on a previous episode of the Terminator films.

      Hopefully, Cameron will bid on the rights and reclaim the child he created 25 years ago so he can give the boot to McG’s plans for the franchise.

      We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • JaySin420

    I kind of agree that killing John is basically killing the whole series but I also think that Salvation makes a lot more sense with that ending.

    Most of the movie was about Marcus which really didn’t make sense cause what do we care about Marcus but it was showing us how he can fight the Terminators cause he’s one of them. The sequels would have had John (Marcus with Johns face) finally not getting his ass kicked by terminators the entire movie.

  • JaySin420

    I kind of agree that killing John is basically killing the whole series but I also think that Salvation makes a lot more sense with that ending.

    Most of the movie was about Marcus which really didn’t make sense cause what do we care about Marcus but it was showing us how he can fight the Terminators cause he’s one of them. The sequels would have had John (Marcus with Johns face) finally not getting his ass kicked by terminators the entire movie.

  • JaySin420

    I kind of agree that killing John is basically killing the whole series but I also think that Salvation makes a lot more sense with that ending.

    Most of the movie was about Marcus which really didn’t make sense cause what do we care about Marcus but it was showing us how he can fight the Terminators cause he’s one of them. The sequels would have had John (Marcus with Johns face) finally not getting his ass kicked by terminators the entire movie.

  • Alex

    I dunno, I had a really good time watching TS, and I own the Bluray as well.
    For a popcorn movie, its damn good, even tho it doesn’t come close to the ingenuity of the 1st 2. At least it’s way better than 3.

    I’ll be glad if 5 comes out.

  • Alex

    I dunno, I had a really good time watching TS, and I own the Bluray as well.
    For a popcorn movie, its damn good, even tho it doesn’t come close to the ingenuity of the 1st 2. At least it’s way better than 3.

    I’ll be glad if 5 comes out.

  • Alex

    I dunno, I had a really good time watching TS, and I own the Bluray as well.
    For a popcorn movie, its damn good, even tho it doesn’t come close to the ingenuity of the 1st 2. At least it’s way better than 3.

    I’ll be glad if 5 comes out.

  • Jim Stinson

    Dan Lin’s looks? Don’t be deceived: he’s a seasoned producer — been at Warners for some years. My duaghter Lillie worked as his assistant some years ago and reports him as one of the best (and THE most decent) Warner execs. I understand he’s now independent though still under the Big Warner tent.

  • Jim Stinson

    Dan Lin’s looks? Don’t be deceived: he’s a seasoned producer — been at Warners for some years. My duaghter Lillie worked as his assistant some years ago and reports him as one of the best (and THE most decent) Warner execs. I understand he’s now independent though still under the Big Warner tent.

  • Jim Stinson

    Dan Lin’s looks? Don’t be deceived: he’s a seasoned producer — been at Warners for some years. My duaghter Lillie worked as his assistant some years ago and reports him as one of the best (and THE most decent) Warner execs. I understand he’s now independent though still under the Big Warner tent.

  • RossBondReturns

    Terminator Salvation was a box office disaster. It cost $200 million dollars to make. At least another $75 million went on advertising, so It did not make much. Glad those idiots from Halcyon went bust. McG, Ferris, Brancato, Anderson, Kubick, Mostow, Vanja, Kasser are all responsible for the death of the Terminator franchise.

  • RossBondReturns

    Terminator Salvation was a box office disaster. It cost $200 million dollars to make. At least another $75 million went on advertising, so It did not make much. Glad those idiots from Halcyon went bust. McG, Ferris, Brancato, Anderson, Kubick, Mostow, Vanja, Kasser are all responsible for the death of the Terminator franchise.

  • Zinjo

    I have to agree that replacing Connor with a terminator not only negates the whole Cameron (and franchise) premise , but also contradicts Terminator 3 (of which I’m no fan)!

    McG’s arrogance would want such an ending, so he could “make it his own”, but the reality is that if such a thing would have happened, a better director, like what Brian Singer did with “Superman Returns”, would simply base their film on a previous episode of the Terminator films.

    Hopefully, Cameron will bid on the rights and reclaim the child he created 25 years ago so he can give the boot to McG’s plans for the franchise.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Zinjo

    I have to agree that replacing Connor with a terminator not only negates the whole Cameron (and franchise) premise , but also contradicts Terminator 3 (of which I’m no fan)!

    McG’s arrogance would want such an ending, so he could “make it his own”, but the reality is that if such a thing would have happened, a better director, like what Brian Singer did with “Superman Returns”, would simply base their film on a previous episode of the Terminator films.

    Hopefully, Cameron will bid on the rights and reclaim the child he created 25 years ago so he can give the boot to McG’s plans for the franchise.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

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