Will the Terminator ‘Not be back’ marking the end of the franchise?
The insatiable thirst to churn money has been the inseparable trait of Hollywood that has spawned across different genres of movies, pushed directors to the wackiest of ideas and excited producers to take the boldest decisions in their careers. Come the 21st century, Hollywood surely isn’t lacking behind in terms of ideas and innovations, and now coupled with the tool of VFX, technology and other modern forms of film-making in their arsenal. Although novelty works the best, but not always does it earn the most for the fad of franchises and sequels, reboots and remakes have time and again proved to churn billions and drawn the crowd towards themselves.
Take the list of Top 15 Highest Grossing Hollywood movies and 13 of those are either franchise tent-poles or sequels of an existing successful franchise raking in billions of dollars world-wide. It is beyond doubt that every producer is gradually leaning towards the aspiration of building a cash-cow franchise and here is where often the new financiers on-board aspire themselves to be creative producers.
To aspire is good but to achieve may be a rocky patch for the producers and this is what we at The GraphicSlate.com point out for one of the best but saturated Hollywood franchises, ‘The Terminator’.
When it all started – Back in the 1980s, Hollywood’s love for science-fiction based movies took the Avatar director, James Cameron to spit life into an altogether different future-based action flick, The Terminator (1984). Starring Hollywood’s best bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the villainous robot, the undermined production unexpectedly turned to be critical and a commercial success grossing over $78 million on a meagre budget of $6.4 million produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Hurd had bought over the rights to The Terminator from Cameron for as low as $1 and the legendary director ceased to be involved with the series after the directing and producing the till-date best Terminator movie, Terminator 2 – The Judgement Day (1990) which grossed nearly $520 million world-wide. Although promising a high potential to appeal the masses with Arnold’s monosyllabic monstrosity as the T-800 futuristic robot, the franchise has staggered along in its successive sequels, Terminator 3 – Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009) which had the franchise’ centered actor, Arnold in only a brief CGI-cameo.
The new producer on-board – Megan Ellison – Megan Ellison, the founder of Annapurna Pictures outbid Lionsgate in 2011 acquiring the rights for $29.5 million to make at least two more installments of The Terminator franchise. Although Ellison’s venture into Hollywood is backed up only by a few years, her aspirations have sprung amazing string of credits. She has an intriguing list of films under her name including Academy Award nominations, Her (2013), American Hustle (2013) and others like Zero Dark Thirty (2012), The Master (2012) and Lawless (2012) to name a few.
David Ellison’s ambitious plans – In January 2014, although Megan announced her Annapurna Pictures withdrawing any financial involvement in the Terminator movies, it did not mean an end to the franchise as her brother David Ellison, CEO of Skydance Productions took over the mantle funding nearly 66% of the massive budget along with Paramount Pictures planned for Terminator-Genisys (2015). In the recent years, Skydance Productions has been involved in quite a few big-budgeted tent-poles like Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, World War Z, Jack Reacher and the Star Trek movies.
In his endeavors to spit life into the dormant Terminator franchise, David stated that, “Skydance Productions focuses on elevated event-level film making and the re-launch of this iconic franchise is a perfect match for our company and I am very confident in our top-notch creative team and the material driving this project.” Even before the release of the new installment Terminator – Genisys, David went all out in promoting the movie and in an interview with The New York Times he laid out the plans for building a Terminator “universe.” Stating that he wanted his company to be another Marvel, he said that Genisys would kick-off another Terminator trilogy alongside a television show based on the same universe shared with futuristic machines and terminators.
It is all about the money – While Skydance Productions boasted a huge support to the forthcoming Terminator universe that brought back an aged Arnold back on screen to reiterate his famous dialogue, “I’ll be back”, Terminator – Genisys (2015) failed to conquer the audiences’ attention and also impress the critics. Directed by Alan Taylor, Terminator – Genisys brought a powerful star-cast on-board to revive the iconic characters of Terminator universe including Game of Thrones star, Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, Jason Clarke as John Connor alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger as the outdated and aged T-800 robot. Made on the budget of $155 million, the movie amassed $440 million on the back of strong China box office ($112 million) but did not fare well at the domestic market grossing only $89 million. Hollywood studios only receive 20-30 per cent of receipts from Chinese cinemas.
With such dismal figures, certain inside sources have cited that Paramount Pictures has already shelved out plans for a ‘cinematic universe’ for the Terminator Sci-fi saga which evidently puts the entire forth-coming Terminator movies on hold. With no confirmed reports yet, we could only speculate that maybe the audiences are terminator-fatigued and this may terminate the Terminator franchise as we know it. Having said so, until any such official news is confirmed ardent Arnold fans can hope for him to say it again, “I’ll Be Back.”.