James Cameron Plots Return To Terminator Franchise

By January 23, 2017
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It’s been an awful long time since James Cameron has been involved with the Terminator franchise. And it certainly shows.

But there’s good news: He’s back. Or as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character said in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day … OK, you don’t need us to keep repeating that line.

Anyway, Cameron is set to pick up the rights to Terminator in 2019, a franchise he created with The Terminator in 1984. That film earned $78 million worldwide, or $182.2 million today. Judgment Day blew the lid off all of it with $513.8 million, or $908.3 million today.

But the box office hasn’t been kind to the Terminator franchise since. The global haul for 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines works out to $566.2 million today, while Terminator: Salvation in 2009 picked up an equivalent of $411.2 million today.

And let’s not talk about Terminator: Genisys. Oh, we have to? OK. That film finished along the lines of Salvation with about $440.2 million in 2015.

Cameron, however, hasn’t been involved since 1991. And now that the copyright is set to revert at the 35-year mark to him, he wants to be involved. At least one more time … and he’s bringing in Deadpool director Tim Miller to help, according to Deadline.

Indeed, The Terminator might have endured the craziest road of any billion-dollar movie franchise, going back to when Cameron – who only had Piranha 2 under his belt as direct – sold rights to his scripted project for $1 to produce Gale Ann Hurd, with the stipulation he could not be fired as director. The result was a 1984 sci-fi classic that launched his star and that of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Since 1991, however, the rights have bounced around all over the place, thanks to various bankruptcies and asset sales. Cameron tried to get the rights back once when the original studio, Carolco, went under. But someone else got them first, and Cameron didn’t want anything to do with it.

The rights eventually ended up in the hands of Megan Ellison, whose brother David Ellison, runs Skydance – a production company that has helped finance a number of major projects in recent years, including the Star Trek reboot films for Paramount Pictures.

But then again, the question comes back to when Cameron will find the time? The three-time Oscar winner has four sequels to his 2009 hit Avatar in the works, and he seems in no hurry to produce and release them. He also is set to take on Alita: Battle Angel as a writer for director Robert Rodriguez, which is due in theaters in July 2018.

And did we mention that Cameron is never in a hurry to get something to screen? We did? OK, good.

We can say that the earliest we’ll see any movement on this is 2019, when the rights revert back to Cameron. When we’ll see another film, however, that’s up to Cameron.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.