Keeping with a February deadline, the auction of Terminator franchise rights is winding down. Last we heard, Lionsgate was the studio that had secured a position as a bottom line buyer, locking in a minimum bid that any other would-be buyer will have to top.
Well, Variety reports that another studio may in fact be trying to top Lionsgate's bid, and that studio is Sony.
This news comes from a "source close to the bidding" who claims Sony put in its bid right on the Thursday deadline before bidding closed. Lionsgate's "stalking horse" bid was $15 million for the Terminator rights and a 5% cut of future gross receipts; Sony's bid hasn't been revealed yet, but it had to be higher than the $15 million that Lionsgate has locked in. The bankrupt Halcyon Group (which currently owns the Terminator rights) valued the property at $70 million - looks like they'll be settling for a bargain bin selling price.
The actual auction for the Terminator franchise assets - movie/TV/DVD rights, merchandise, etc. - will take place on Monday in LA; a bankruptcy court hearing for the Halcyon Group will take place on Wednesday. According to the terms of the stalking horse bid, Lionsgate will still receive $750,000 if the studio doesn't win the auction.
Sony was the international distributor of Terminator Salvation, which was a disappointment at the domestic box office (part of why Halcyon went under) but still raked in almost $250 million of its $372 million total gross from the overseas markets. This means that Sony in fact made a good penny off of Salvation and would probably sees a viable opportunity in owning the franchise rights.
For we, the fans, this means that in all likelihood more Terminator movies (and TV shows???) will eventually go into the pipeline - no matter who ends up with the rights.
All I hope is that whoever ends up owning Terminator does a better job making a film than the Halcyon Group ever did. I just downloaded a free (legal) copy of Terminator Salvation and watched it again; it's just as bland and uninspired as I remembered it to be.
I'm sure there will be major announcements on this front when the auction takes place next week. Stay tuned.