The Terminator

The Terminator rights sale saga just keeps on going. At the beginning of this week, Sony and Lionsgate were jointly bidding for the rights to the Terminator franchise. They lost out to Pacificor, the hedge fund that had loaned money to Halcyon to buy the Terminator rights in the first place, before calling in the debt which caused the rights to go up for sale.

If you think about that for a second, it looks kinda fishy. Sony and Lionsgate think so. Lawyers for Sony say that their bid was the best one, but that Halcyon and Pacificor had struck a deal last Friday, essentially rigging the sale in favor of the hedge fund. But now there’s a new wrinkle. After some negotiation, Sony and Lionsgate have been given an option to negotiate to produce and distribute the next Terminator film.

An update to an LA Times article on the ongoing process provides the key info.The paper says,

Despite the rancor in court, Sony and Lions Gate have been given an exclusive window by Pacificor to negotiate to produce and distribute the next “Terminator” movie, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Which means, basically, that Pacificor has really done a nice job here. They own the rights and pull the strings, and have left the hard work — actually making and releasing another movie — to other companies. Good work, hedge fund! Will Pacificor play ball with Sony and Lionsgate? You’d expect so. While the auction got heavy at the last minute, there weren’t too many rights bidders who were really competitive. These companies obviously wanted to do something with the property, so why would Pacificor go to great lengths to find someone else to produce and distribute?

And what about McG, who has said more than once that he wants to make two more Terminator films? His representative argued in court yesterday that McG had a right of first refusal deal with Halcyon to direct any future sequels, and that Pacificor and any producing partners need to honor it. The judge disagreed, and said that if McG isn’t given the chance to direct the next film, he could file a claim against Halcyon in bankruptcy court.

What are the chances of McG actually suing, should a sequel come to pass without him, and of that claim generating anything tangible? More than likely, you’d expect Sony and LionsGate to throw him an executive producer credit on a future film and leave it at that.

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