Terminator Salvation will be released later this month by Warner Bros in the US and Sony overseas, however some studio drama may occur regarding who will finance and distribute Terminator 5, which is currently in development.
MGM has a 30-day right of first refusal to finance and distribute the fifth “Terminator” film, a right earned through the settlement of a lawsuit between the studio and Halcyon partners Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson. According to sources, MGM has every intention of making a serious play for the franchise, potentially trumping Warner Bros., which is distributing “Terminator Salvation” in domestic territories, and Sony, which is releasing the film overseas.
The distribution drama promises to be a real cliffhanger that will begin once Halcyon delivers its demands to MGM along with a first draft of the screenplay for the fifth “Terminator.”
“Salvation” was a much riskier prospect then than the fifth “Terminator” is now. At the time, MGM made its decision knowing only that franchise linchpin Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t returning, and the studio had only an early script by “Terminator 3” scribes John Brancato and Michael Ferris they developed with “T3” helmer Jonathan Mostow. That script has changed significantly, with uncredited work done by Jonah Nolan, Paul Haggis, Shawn Ryan and Anthony Zuiker. Though Halcyon hasn’t yet set a writer for the fifth film, the prospects are strong because McG is returning as director, and Christian Bale will reprise as John Connor.
The MGM-Halcyon drama may not play out until a year from now, when Kubicek and Anderson get an early script, but the stakes may well be supremacy for summer 2011 or 2012.
As long as a movie is good I don’t really care which studio is behind it, however you have to feel a bit sorry for Warner Bros (even if they do earn billions). First they had the Watchmen/Fox legal battle and now they could lose a potential franchise they set up.