The battle to relaunch The Terminator begins!
UPDATE - Deadline is reporting that upstart producer Megan Ellison beat out Lionsgate for the rights to two new TERMINATOR films. No details on exactly how much was spent but speculation has it around the $20 million mark. Ellison will reportedly next start working on foreign rights to the project before finding a US studio to strike up a deal with (think Universal who would love to stay in the Justin Lin business).
Right now, there's a battle between Lionsgate and indie financier Megan Ellison and her company, Annapurna Films to purchase the rights to relaunch THE TERMINATOR franchise.
Yesterday, Lionsgate almost had the whole shabang when they were planning to pay at least half of the $29.5 million that Pacificor had laid down for the package last year. This was until Megan Ellison came in with a higher bid. The only thing Ellison lacks is a distributor.
Well, who the hell is Megan Ellison and why does she deserve the rights to continue THE TERMINATOR franchise? Actually, Ms. Ellison has been helping finance many sought after projects like Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled Scientology drama, Kathryn Bigelow's KILL BIN LADEN, and John Hillcoat’s THE WETTEST COUNTY IN THE WORLD. The girl knows what to invest her money in.
But why grab a property like THE TERMINATOR? For a little payback. There's no guarantee on whether the few films that she has recently financed will make top dollar. With a big, well-known franchise, Ellison could easily recoup some change back. However, she'd have to jump on it quick. By 2018, the rights revert back to James Cameron and although he doesn't really want anything to do with it anymore, it still puts a time frame on the relaunch.
So who has the more capable hands? Lionsgate does have many resources and would definitely kick the shit out. They would also most likely keep Justin Lin on as director. However, Ellison and Annapurna Films could allow for more creative freedoms so they wouldn't have to turn out a quickly made crapfest.
The deal is said to close shortly, so I guess we will find out soon enough.