In a report posted at Variety last night, it was announced that the fourth installment in the Terminator saga has a new title (Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins), a new North American distributor (Warner Bros.), and the same target release (summer 2009). The Warner Bros. deal comes on the heels of a concerted acquisition effort by MGM:
The Warner deal dashes MGM’s hopes of corralling distribution rights to the film. The Lion planned to pepper its slate with tentpoles such as “The Hobbit” and “Terminator,” but neither project has worked out for the distributor.
Halcyon sued MGM in July in Los Angeles Superior Court, claming the distrib was interfering with its distribution plans on the fourth “Terminator” film on the basis of an MGM claim that it had acquired an exclusive 30-day negotiating window.
The article goes on to report that the producers expect Salvation‘s costs to be leaner than Terminator 3‘s $200 million tag, though the sequel will still “have an event-sized budget,” and it reaffirms earlier reports that the filmmakers hope to launch a new trilogy here. Producer Moritz Borman tells Variety:
“The third film was really the conclusion of what happened in the ‘now.’ You will find the most-loved characters, but the intention here is to present a fresh new world and have this be the first of a trilogy.”
Boritz’ statement begs the obvious question of whether or not Arnold Schwarzenegger will play one of those “most-loved characters,” and the article touches on that. Boritz goes on to say:
“We’ve left it open for him to maybe do a cameo…he has an important job, as we know, and the final decision will be based on his desire and availability, along with what the director wants.”
T3 screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris have written the script for Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, and Variety echoes the “industry buzz” (earlier reported here) that McG is “the odds-on favorite” to direct, but says no final decision has yet been made.