Megan Ellison Beats Out Lionsgate for TERMINATOR Rights

     May 13, 2011


Lionsgate has missed out on the rights to The Terminator franchise again.  After losing the bidding war to Pacificor back in February 2010, the rights went back up for sale at Cannes and Lionsgate once again tried to grab the franchise.  But on Wednesday we learned that Megan Ellison, whose Annapurna Pictures had taken to backing prestige directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow, unexpectedly threw her hat into the ring.  Now Deadline is reporting that Ellison has won the bidding war and it’s a surprising film to add to her indie-dominated portfolio.  Hit the jump for more on Ellison’s other projects and my thoughts on her Terminator acquisition.

Keep in mind that she’s got a couple of the hottest projects going with Bigelow and Mark Boal’s film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden as well as John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County in the World starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska.  She’s already sold the rights to Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama to The Weinstein Company and I’m sure an intense bidding war will ensue over the Bin Laden project which is slated to shoot in the fall.

So where does Terminator fit into Ellison’s plan?  Most are assuming that it’s a film to pay the bills because it has more mainstream appeal than most of the films that she’s producing.  However, Terminator is far from a surefire hit.  There hasn’t been a good Terminator movie in twenty years and after the disappointment of Terminator Salvation, I believed the franchise was in need in a reboot.  Instead, the property is doubling-down on Arnold Schwarzenegger even though Rise of the Machines only grossed $150 million domestic off a $200 million budget.  This is the same Schwarzenegger who didn’t have the box office clout to open Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, End of Days, or Jingle All the Way.  His last bonafide hit was 1996′s Eraser.  And yet the franchise is supposed to go back on his old shoulders?

I understand the need for Ellison to pursue a mainstream title like the Terminator franchise, but I think it’s a big gamble with Schwarzenegger back in the lead.


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  • Wolstenholme

    While I didn’t think T3 was all that bad (T4 was terrible)…I would love to see a studio with the balls to just erase a film from the history…bring Cameron in to redo T3, who says reboots have to start from the beginning…they should’ve done that with spiderman 3 too, instead of this new shit remake

    • Dane

      I think the new Spidey is actually part 4, but they started over

  • Jenna Rich

    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.

  • junierizzle

    I’m hoping she bought it to put it out of it’s misery.

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  • jds077

    The only way this is a success is if they can cast Schwarznegger as a villain, again. Seriously, when is the last time he played a bad guy. He needs a comeback flick to re-invent himself and this could be it and maybe give him if nothing else he could show that the real Arnie is “Back”!

  • J

    I think Sony Pictures is the best choice for this project

  • Rev. Slappy

    Arnold is almost 64 years old. At this point, does anybody want to see him as the Terminator again? Can he pull off the role at his age? This thing has “Crystal Skull” written all over it.

  • Guns Of Navarone

    There are a couple of points to make here.

    1) A script by William Wisher does exist and ties off the franchise in 2 films (of which Arnie would appear in the 2nd in some type of role). The script sounds very good and includes a timetravel plot allowing sarah connor to return.

    2) IF they don’t go with the script by Wisher I think it’s safe to assume that they will HAVE to use the de-ageing fx from Benjamin Button / Tron Legacy / X3 etc.. Arnie hasn’t aged well likely from all the big bastard Austrian cigars he’s so fond of. His face is full of lines so you can’t have an ageing terminator. Another point to consider is that Arnie said he had given up “extreme fighting” roles in films and he also doesn’t work out any more.

    If they go the age-reversing fx, I think it may end up looking shit because that technology is far from perfect. If they go with Wisher’s script it might just work. Maybe a mixture of them both?..

    • Jake

      Actually, Arnold started working out again a while ago because i saw some recent pictures of him and his arms are like tree trunks again, seriously, go look.

  • Kenny B

    Salvation worse then T3? I like Salvations story a little more, T3 had the one great action scene with the giant crane truck. Then It became road trip to bot-ville.

    And “Katheryn Bruster”, gesh, what a terrible name. And John Conner wasn’t believable as an ass, the actor was an ass. – I know, Worthington and Bale were also mindblowing.

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  • frampton

    Let T4 die by ignoring it and just make a continuation of
    Sarah Connor Chronicles which was by far the better story. Get the same actors and as much as the creative crew back as you can and you will be good to go.

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  • Kevin

    I would love to see Summer Glau in the next Terminator film, even if she is playing her role in a different manner.

    go to
    (My own publisher name is KevinInScotland) there are lots of TSCC related stories. Take your pick.

    I believe T4 was not as bad as people make out. It depends how you view it.
    Yes I know, JC on the motorbike swinging round and shooting up the road 350mph was naff, as was a few other things but at least they tried. 3 stars out of 5.
    All the best guys

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