So who won the rights to The Terminator?

The auction for the rights to the Terminator franchise is over. So who’s ended up with them? Not a major movie studio, as it happens…

Since it was announced that, thanks to the bankruptcy of the Halcyon group, the Terminator franchise was going up for auction, it was widely assumed that most movie studios would be showing some degree of interest. After all, even though Terminator: Salvation may not have earned the franchise its best reviews to date (although they weren’t too shabby in some quarters, to be fair), it still managed to rake in $372m at the worldwide box office, before DVD and Blu-ray sales were taken into account. Those aren’t bad numbers for a film that some have described, wrongly, as a box office flop.

The auction’s early leader, it turned out, was Lionsgate, whose bid a few weeks back was confirmed as the stalking horse offer. In short, anyone who wanted to put their name forward as a potential bidder for the franchise had to meet Lionsgate’s offer just to stay in the game.

As it turned out, that was as close as Lionsgate managed to get to winning. Because even though it was actively bidding in the final rounds for the rights to the franchise, it was ultimately outbid. Furthermore, so was Sony, in spite of joining up with Lionsgate for the last few rounds of bidding. But it didn’t win either.

So who did? Well, the firm who now has the rights to the Terminator games, movies, television shows and other spin-offs is … Pacificor.

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You’ve not heard of Pacificor, right? That’s okay, neither have we. It turns out it’s a hedge fund, and one that had previously demanded $30m in damages from Halcyon. Pacificor was also the company that, in the words of Deadline Hollywood, “pushed [Halcyon] into bankruptcy”. Basically, the Terminator franchise is effectively now owned by bankers.

The winning bid was $29.5m, and also all debt to Pacificor from Halcyon is wiped out. In short, the debt worries have gone, but the prized asset is now in the hands of a hedge fund business.

Where does this leave the Terminator franchise? It pretty much guarantees that there’s going to be another film – you don’t pay $30m for the rights to something and don’t do anything with it, after all. Whether it’ll continue the story arc started in Terminator: Salvation remains to be seen, of course.

Deadline Hollywood has the full story here.