It’s official: The Terminator franchise will be back, now under the umbrella of Paramount Pictures.
Paramount says it has joined forces with Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures to return the saga of future robots fighting their war in the present when a rebooted “Terminator” comes to theaters in June 2015.
This is big news for the franchise, which last released a film in 2009 with Christian Bale, Sam Worthington and Moon Bloodgood in “Terminator: Salvation.” That film earned $125.3 million at the North American box office, well short of its steep $200 million budget.
John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris wrote that outing of Terminator returning after 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” They won’t be back for the reboot, however, with those writing duties falling to Laeta Kalorgridis and Patrick Lussier. Kalorgridis won some acclaim in 2010 for her work in “Shutter Island,” and has tried to get herself into another major franchise in the past: Wonder Woman.
Kalorgridis does have an indirect past connection with Terminator: She was an executive producer on “Avatar” in 2009, a film directed by the same man who did the first “The Terminator” in 1984, James Cameron.
Lussier is known more for his editing than his writing, but took both the writer’s and director’s chair in his 2011 Nicholas Cage action film “Drive Angry.” That film earned $10.7 million in North America, also well short of its $50 million budget.
The new Terminator — the first in an announced standalone trilogy — will be produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna and David Ellison of Skydance. Executive producers will be Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake. No director has been announced.
David Ellison has already worked on such films as “World War Z,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” Megan Ellison was a part of “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Master” and “Spring Breakers.”
The Terminator franchise has generated $1.4 billion in worldwide box office since 1984, not adjusting for inflation. The first “Terminator” was made for just $6.4 million and would gross more than 10 times that. The followup, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eddie Furlong, made $516.8 million worldwide on a much more healthy $100 million budget in 1991.
In recent years, the franchise has suffered big-time. Over the last few years, the rights to the film have been in limbo and even were up for auction. The Ellisons — a brother and sister movie-producing duo — reportedly bought the rights for $20 million. Although Schwarzenegger has insisted he will be a part of the next Terminator film, he was not mentioned in the release from Paramount, Skydance and Annapurna.