Studios Miss Out as Rights to ‘Terminator’ Franchise Sell for $29.5 Million

Deadline is reporting tonight that while both Lionsgate and Sony Pictures were bidding to get their hands on the rights to any and all upcoming Terminator films, television programs and any other franchise spin-offs, neither walked away the winner. Instead Halcyon Holding Corp sold the rights for $29.5 million to Santa Barbara hedge fund Pacificor, the same group Halcyon sued back in August and is partly the reason Halcyon had to sell the Terminator rights, as they faced Chapter 11 due to monies due the hedge fund.

Nikki Finke’s report says Sony Pictures Entertainment’s president of worldwide affairs Peter Schlessel was caused to “storm out” of the Downtown LA offices when it became clear Pacificor “was willing to pay almost any amount of money for Terminator.”

Pacificor lent Halcyon the money necessary to purchase the rights to the franchise back in May of 2007 when producers Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar sold them to Halcyon for $30 million. When Halcyon couldn’t pay back their debt the franchise went up for sale. As for that lawsuit I mentioned, there were actually a pair of $30 million lawsuits: One against Santa Barbara hedge fund Pacificor, which lent them money to buy the rights to the science-fiction film series, and another against a former employee of Pacificor who helped arrange the loans.

Here’s a further snippet from an August 2009 Los Angeles Times article with complete details:

The lawsuit against [former vice president of business development at Pacificor, Kurt] Benjamin paints Anderson and Kubicek as a pair of relative naifs who were pushed into financial ruin by Benjamin, Mitchell and “Salvation” producer Moritz Borman.

It alleges that Benjamin hid the fact that he was working for Pacificor and represented himself as an independent agent in order to negotiate terms favorable to his employer. It also claims that he encouraged Anderson and Kubicek to unwisely spend Halcyon’s own funds on producing a “Terminator Salvation” video game “so that it would not be able to meet its obligations and would therefore fall under the total control of Pacificor.”

So now I guess we wait to see just what all of this means. Terminator Salvation made $372 million worldwide last year making it the sixteenth highest grossing film worldwide for 2009. Sounds to me as if there is still an audience, but can they improve on the mess that was that most recent film?

Rumors swirled back in December 2009 that Salvation helmer McG would return for an assumed fifth and sixth film based on some comments he made during a live Blu-ray commentary, but nothing has been confirmed on that front. Terminator Salvation was eyed as the first film in a proposed trilogy and it’s now a waiting game to see if that happens.


Marvel and DC