I will remember Friday, May 13th 2011 for the rest of my life as the day that a rich girl stole the rights to one of Hollywood's most prized franchises from a major motion picture studio. Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison and brother of David Ellison (who shares her interest in showbiz and collaborated with her on True Grit), has emerged victorious in the battle for the film rights to The Terminator franchise, reports Deadline.
The news is a fourth-quarter shocker, as Lionsgate nearly sealed the deal before an eleventh-hour bid from Ellison became an offer that hedge-fund Pacificor (the company that took the rights to the series from Halcyon in 2010 after the less-than-stellar returns on 2009's Terminator Salvation) couldn't refuse. Details are still coming in, but the source claims that the final sale price could've hit $20 million, which is a bit less than the $29.5 million that Pacificor paid.
Business aside, this is a major victory for fans of the franchise. Though her pockets run DEEP, Ellison has invested mainly in prestige pictures that never guarantee a payback in the long run, including the Megan Fox-starrer Passion Play which went straight to DVD. The one exception thus far is Grit, which pulled in massive box office on a $38 million budget. Her upcoming slate represents the high standard of quality she demands of projects with her name attached, including John Hillcoat's The Wettest County in the World, Andrew Dominik's Cogan's Trade and Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled religious drama. So the fact that she's just invested in The Terminator means that the the series could finally return to the level of intellect and general awesomeness that the original film and its first sequel boasted.
The rights package was purchased with Justin Lin (Fast Five) and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached, and Ellison could very likely follow the rumored plan to finally bring the franchise to an agreeable close with two back-to-back films that would lead to a natural conclusion to the story of man vs. machine. No writer has been hired yet, and that upcoming decision will probably be a major factor in determining what we can expect from The Terminator in the coming years.