For sale: One (1) science fiction franchise. Fixer-upper.
The rights to The Terminator series are once again on sale, solidifying its position as “the town bicycle” of movie franchises.
Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek acquired the rights to the franchise in 2007 for $25 million. They produced this year’s sequel Terminator: Salvation, which grossed $371 million worldwide.
Several of Anderson and Kubicek’s companies are dealing with bankruptcy. This means the duo can no longer afford to hold the sole rights to the series and are hoping to sell them partially or outright.
The rights to the Terminator franchise have changed hands more times than any other major series in Hollywood.
The first movie was released in 1984. The rights were split 50/50 between the Hemdale Film Corp and director James Cameron. He would later sell his half to producing partner and future wife Gale Anne Hurd for $1.
Carolco Pictures picked up Hemdale’s stake for $10 million in 1990 and delivered Terminator 2: Judgment Day to cinemas the following year.
Carolco went bankrupt in 1997. Their 50% share in the franchise was then acquired by Carolco’s new venture C2 Pictures for $8 million. They also bought Hurd’s 50% for $7 million (making her $1 investment relatively impressive).
C2 Pictures were responsible for 2003′s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In 2007, they sold the rights to Anderson and Kubicek, bringing us full circle.
So who will be the next brave souls to pick up the Terminator franchise? Although a fifth film is in development, interest in the series has waned since the relative financial and critical failure of Salvation. Could we see this long-independent series picked up by a major studio?
Perhaps if James Cameron makes enough coin from Avatar, he can afford to buy the rights back. Sadly, it’s unlikely he’ll get a deal as sweet as the one he gave Hurd.
Discuss: What are your hopes for the future of the Terminator franchise?