A cyborg has been sent from the future on a deadly mission to kill Sarah Connor. So begins the sci-fi saga that has stretched over a decade to encompass films, TV programs, toys and countless other spin offs.
Now the Terminator franchise is up for sale to the highest bidder and attracting significant interest from a recession-wary media industry, a report in the Financial Times said Monday.
The auction will test Hollywood's intellectual-property valuations at a time when profits are under pressure, the FT said. It doesn't cover earlier Terminator films, many of which star Arnold Schwarzenegger, but allows the buyer to add to the franchise with new productions, the report said.
The sale is expected to beat the price fetched by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which recently went for $60 million, the report said. The franchise is of particular interest because it is not controlled by a big studio, which is rare, the FT added.
"We have a property that has made three times the box office (takings of the Ninja Turtles films),” Kevin Shultz, senior managing director at FTI, told the FT.
As a brand, Terminator seems to be still going strong. The most recent film, Terminator Salvation, grossed $380 million worldwide and is due to hit the DVD/Blu-ray market this month, the FT pointed out.
Sony Pictures is a leading contender for the rights, but all the big film studios have expressed an interest, along with several financial buyers, the report said citing a source familiar with the situation. Sony declined to comment to the FT.
Summit Entertainment and Media RightsCapital are also tracking the sale, the report said citing the source.
The rights are being sold by Halcyon, which produced the most recent movie, after it bought them for $25 million two years ago from film producer Mario Kassar.
The sale is being conducted by FTI Capital Advisors as Halcyon has sought bankruptcy protection after a dispute with Pacificor, the report said. Pacificor, a Santa Barbara-based hedge fund, lent Halcyon money to buy the rights, the report added.