EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger left the Governor’s Mansion and Tweeted his desire to resume his acting career, there seems to finally be some action on his signature franchise, The Terminator. I’m told that interest is kicking back up. One interested party: Universal, which is looking for a directing vehicle for Justin Lin. He helmed the last three installments of The Fast and the Furious franchise, including the latest Fast Five, which Universal releases April 29. I’ve heard that the plan would be to possibly pair him with Chris Morgan, who aside from Fast Five has credits on big scale Universal films that include the upcoming Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin and Wanted.
Since being acquired in bankruptcy court last February by Santa Monica-based hedge fund Pacificor for $29.5 million, The Terminator has maintained radio silence, surprising given the voracious studio appetite for branded tent pole projects that lend themselves to 3D technology. Part of the reason was the subpar results of the last film, but also the bankruptcy auction which left the two most likely distributors, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, walking away in disgust. Pacificor, one of the debt holders that forced Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson into bankruptcy, was the surprise winner, bidding close to the $30 million that Kubicek and Anderson paid to acquire the rights back in 2007 from producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar.
While the bankruptcy approval left open the prospect of an exclusive negotiation for Sony Pictures and Lionsgate for distribution rights, those distributors walked away from the table. Before the bankruptcy happened, McG had been expected to continue the apocalyptic storyline he started with the Christian Bale-Sam Worthington pic Terminator Salvation, but that attachment ended with the bankruptcy. Right around the time the bankruptcy was settled, Deadline also reported that William Wisher–James Cameron’s collaborator on Terminator 2 and an uncredited co-writer on the original, wrote a 24-page treatment for the next film and a four-page concept outline for a sixth Terminator film. His version continued the post-apocalyptic battleground scenario from Terminator Salvation, but added in the element of time travel. It will be most interesting to see what shape this franchise takes.