I’ve been thinking about why I don’t hate Terminator Salvation like most people do. I don’t really love the movie, but I thought it was okay. It was better than Transformers 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, for sure. It had some bits I liked, although I think earlier drafts of the script might have created a more compelling movie. But why is it that I remain “Eh, it was okay,” while everybody else is just appalled by it?
I think it’s because I’m not a huge fan of the Terminator movies. I think Terminator 3 is atrocious, a completely boring daytime remake of the second one, making us wait 90 minutes for what should have been the opening scene. And I think Terminator 2 is kind of a slog – yeah, the action scenes are good, but I don’t care about anything else that’s happening in that movie. And I don’t really like any of the characters. The death of John Connor would have been a blessed relief for me.
The only Terminator movie I honestly like is the first one. It’s smart, it’s sleek, it’s atmospheric, it’s about stuff other than pumping bullets into robots. Now, Terminator Salvation doesn’t hold a candle, a match or a tiny LED light to this film, but in my opinion it isn’t like the two sequels were anywhere on par with the original anyway.
So for me the news that the Terminator franchise rights are probably going to Lionsgate for a paltry 15 million dollars doesn’t elicit much of a reaction beyond curiosity. Surely a franchise like this must be worth more?
It’s important to note that this deal – a bankruptcy sale in which current rights-holders Halcyon are trying to unload their shit – is only for the rights. Lionsgate wouldn’t suddenly own the older movies, just the rights to exploit the characters et al from them. So Lionsgate isn’t getting Terminator 2, but simply the ability to make movies that are set in the Terminator 2 world.
Anyway, Halcyon got these rights for $30 million back in 2007, according to Variety, and now they’re going for 15. That’s half off, which is nuts. And while the headline of the article makes the joke that McG ruined the value of Terminator, the reality is that the failure of The Sarah Connor Chronicles didn’t help much either.
The real lesson here? Probably that nobody wants to see a Terminator movie or show without Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that this franchise is likely dead as a blockbuster juggernaut until it gets the old reboot. I am curious what Lionsgate would do with the franchise, though – I can’t imagine they buy it just to sit on it. After all, it’s not a really good horror movie!