Terminator Returning in a New Animated Movie? - Updated!
The last rumblings we heard about Terminator back in February had two very different takes on the future of the sci-fi franchise. While it was uncovered that Bill Wisher, an original franchise writer, had treatments for two more installments in the series, James Cameron himself stated that even he thought the franchise had "run its course." Well, it seems like neither of those revelations have impacted the decision from a small film company called Hanover House to develop Terminator 3000, a $70 million 3D animated feature looking to stay at a PG-13 level. However, no writer, director or actors are mentioned as part of new venture.
Usually if you announce a new film from a popular franchise, you'll want to make a big bang by mentioning recognizable talent to get people excited, but this seems like a quiet announcement to the Hollywood clique. It's like saying, "We're playing tag over here," as opposed to yelling, "Peyton Manning is throwing footballs out in the field!" My bet is that this project has some trouble getting off the ground and could very well get swept under the rug as a straight-to-DVD title. Apparently details of the production timing, financing and principal production personnel [will be announced] later this year with a plan to start production in January 2011. Honestly I don't really care about seeing an animated Terminator movie (right now anyway), I'd much rather see a competent filmmaker tackle Bill Wisher's promising treatments. What do you guys think?
Update: It looks like Hannover House's announcement was just a bit premature. Apparently Terminator rights holder Pacificor LLC sent a cease and desist letter to Hannover House to stop development on the film featuring characters for which they don't own any intellectual rights (reported via Deadline). However, Hannover isn't entirely out of line since executive Eric Parkinson, who once ran the home video division of Hemdale Communications (maker of the original Terminator), said he has certain rights allowing him to make the film. "The animation rights were excluded when Hemdale sold Terminator to Carolco and when I left Hemdale, part of my settlement was that I got those rights."
If anything, this just seems like a sneaky way of getting Pacificor's attention and a meeting with their execs to try and get them on-board for this project. Parkinson says, "The best way to put it is, they can't make an animated film without me, and we might not be able to make it without them. We are in discussions with WME, and hope we can deal with this expeditiously." We'll have to see if that happens. On the other hand, I really hope the project is down for the count and won't be getting back up, just because I don't know many people who want a PG-13 animated Terminator movie. We'll keep you updated on this developing story.