Oh No, MGM Might Snatch Up the Rights to Terminator 5?
by Alex Billington
May 14, 2009
This is not good news - I'm going to tell you that right up front. Variety is reporting that the rights to Terminator 5, the sequel to McG's Terminator Salvation, may end up reverting back to MGM. The studio has a 30-day right of first refusal to finance and distribute the fifth Terminator film, a right earned through a settlement of a lawsuit between the studio and The Halcyon Company, who owns the franchise rights to Terminator. Apparently MGM has every intention of making a bid for the franchise, stealing it right out from under Warner Brothers, who is distributing in the US, and Sony, who is distributing internationally.
If it was any other studio, sure, but MGM is the worst place the Terminator franchise could end up! Why, you ask? Well, if you can't think of any other MGM releases recently, that's part of the reason. And the two recent James Bond films don't count, those were released in partnership with Sony. The studio doesn't even have a publicity department and their marketing has always been way under par. The only reason we're all excited for Terminator Salvation right now is because of Warner Brothers. MGM has The Hobbit, RoboCop, and The Matarese Circle coming up, but I'm sure they'll be released in partnership as well.
Word is that MGM could pass since they don't have the money. The third and fourth films required an investment of approximately $50 million from Warner Brothers for domestic, with Sony paying in the vicinity of $75 million for international rights, which became more expensive because Sony acquired additional territories from Halcyon, including Japan. Let's hope it's too expensive for MGM to afford, because I don't want to see them twiddling their thumbs with the release of Terminator 5. Back in Decemeber, Halcyon preemptively agreed to make the sequel, well before they knew its box office run.
We'll be hoping and praying that MGM either passes on this, or they strike some deal with another (more responsible) studio like Warner Brothers or Sony again. Considering how much I enjoyed Terminator Salvation, this franchise needs to remain in the best hands moving forward. And that's not with MGM.