Usually, you hear horror stories about movies that took an incredibly long time to make it from development to the big screen.
But that wasn’t the case for “Terminator Genisys” which was rushed into production in a race against the copyright clock. If it didn’t come out this year, then there might not have been thoughts of a new “Terminator” movie.
The “Terminator” franchise has bounced from studio to studio since the original was released in 1984. Director James Cameron originally sold the rights to the film for $US1 to producer Gale Anne Hurd. The stipulation of this agreement was that Cameron would be allowed to direct “The Terminator.”
At the time, Cameron was a young, untested director. His only previous directing credit was “Pirahna Part Two: The Spawning.” If he didn’t sell the rights, then he might not have gotten the chance to bring his own idea to life.
Cameron recently said he regrets his decision to sell the rights.
“I wish I hadn’t sold the rights for one dollar,” Cameron told the Toronto Sun in 2009. “If I had a little time machine and I could only send back something the length of a tweet, it’d be — ‘Don’t sell.’ ”
Orion Pictures and Hemdale Pictures first owned the rights to 1984’s “The Terminator. Since then, the rights have bounced around to TriStar (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”), and Warner Brothers (“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “Terminator Salvation”).
Siblings Megan (Annapurna Pictures) and David (Skydance Productions) Ellison picked up the rights for the “Terminator” franchise back in 2013 after an intense bidding war which included Lionsgate and Sony.
However, in 2019, Cameron will finally regain ownership of the franchise he created, regardless of whether or not any new films are made between now and then. New changes in copyright law now work in Cameron’s favour.
According to Deadline, changes in the law means that copyright reversion now occurs after 35 years. “The Terminator” was released in 1984. Therefore, 2019 is the year that Cameron would get it back.
This gives the Ellisons only four years to flesh out a trilogy. Normally, sequels aren’t announced until after it has been proven whether or not a film is a hit. In the case of “Terminator Genisys,” this was the plan all along.
While no official sequel has been announced yet, it is clear that there has been a plan for a trilogy from the get-go. When screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier were writing “Genisys,” they always viewed it as the start of a trilogy working alongside Skydance Production’s David Ellison and CCO Dana Goldberg, according to new release “Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future.”
Gambling on a sequel before even knowing how well the predecessor does is risky, but this has led the crew behind the new “Terminator” trilogy to get more ambitious.
In an interview with /film, David Ellison cited “Lord of the Rings” and Star Wars” as two of his favourite trilogies, and he wants his “Terminator” trilogy to reach that level. So, he is taking a similar approach to it.
“…those two have one thing in common which was they were all written prior to shooting a frame of the first movie. They knew they were going to, so you weren’t having to figure it out as you go along.” Ellison said.
“Terminator Genisys” hits theatres on July 1.
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