Megan Ellison Enters Bidding War with Lionsgate for TERMINATOR Rights

     May 11, 2011


Producer Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures have entered a bidding war with Lionsgate over the rights to the Terminator franchise.  As you may recall, Ellison previously has set her production company to backing smaller films with acclaimed directors like Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama and Inherent Vice, and Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden film.  It looked like Lionsgate was going to win the rights with a bid yesterday, but Deadline reports that Ellison has submitted a higher amount even though she doesn’t have a distributor locked in (although it’s probably not too difficult to find a studio willing to distribute a Terminator film).

Hit the jump for more on this potential deal.

arnold-schwarzenegger-terminator-photoLionsgate has been attempting to get the rights to Terminator for years.  Back in February 2010, hedge-fund Pacificor beat out a combined bid from Lionsgate and Sony after previous rights-holder Halcyon went bankrupt.  Now those rights are back up for grabs, and it’s interesting to see Ellison try to take over the franchise.  With Arnold Schwarzenegger poised to return and Fast Five director Justin Lin at the helm, it’s not a bad franchise to bet on, although I still remain unconvinced that Schwarzenegger is still a box office draw.  Deadline speculates that Ellison may be fighting to get Terminator 5 because it may give her a better chance at recouping on her investment than say a movie about a World War II vet who starts a religious cult with an alcoholic drifter as his right hand man.

Whoever gets the rights will still have to face another issue: in 2018, the rights revert back to James Cameron unless a new deal is made.  Cameron hasn’t shown much interest in returning to the franchise so it’s possible that he’ll just sign a new deal that will give the winner of the bidding war an extended lease on the property.  Even if he changes his mind, there’s still time for a production company to churn out at least two more Terminator movies.  The question is after the past two disappointments, does the public even want them?

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  • Katie Ellison

    I was hoping they only make another Terminator film if the script was good and that they hopefully conclude the movie series.

    When they announced that Helena Bonham Carter was playing the main villain in Terminator: Salvation, I was expecting her to be the Skynet equivalent of the Borg Queen from Star Trek. I was so disappointed in the end when I saw the film and it was a wasted opportunity to have a really iconic and memorable villain in the franchise. They should have had a confrontation between her, Christian Bale and Sam Worthington towards the end like with Picard, Data and the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact’s climax.

    Former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger needs to do more dramas rather than just doing huge action blockbusters because he pigeonholed himself as an actor who just did action movies. He is an underrated actor. So, I hope that he does more dramas, tries to reach his full potential as an actor and tries to win an Oscar.

  • Wolstenholme

    The third one wasn’t even that bad…especially compared to that atrocity of the fourth one.

    • Jake

      I agree, it wasn’t as good as 1 and 2 obviously but it was entertaining as hell, salvation was just dull.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I would buy those rights myself just so I could bury it at the bottom of the ocean and nobody else would have to endure any more shitty Terminator movies.

    • Wolstenholme

      That’s actually a great place to take the franchise

  • bigfiction

    If Collider had a cinema saint of the year award it would be hard not to vote for Megan Ellison. If she had the rights I would be confident that big talent is hired and allowed to execute their vision. I think something like Terminator is material you want to go darker with if you’re going to do it again.

  • Beaky Smoochies

    ANOTHER ‘Terminator’ film… please someone, make it stop, make it end!? Megan Ellison maybe the real film buff’s Robin Hood at present- taking great projects from uninterested studios and getting ‘em made- and this might be a good financial invstment, but it’s just that, a commercial move, not a creative one. Michael Biehn put it best, “if it ain’t Cameron, it ain’t Terminator”, and besides, Cameron filmed a coda for T2 that definitively ended the saga, and he’s too busy propagating anti-American/military/human/free market balony for the next decade- word is the main villains in ‘Avatar 2′ will be the Roman Catholic church (sarcasm, by the way)!

  • Tarek

    Salvation was a total mess. this McG must be banned from Hollywood.

    Kathryn Bigelow could make a good movie, if the script is “reviewed” by Jim Cameron.

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