Hannover House and Red Bear Entertainment are planning to develop "Terminator 3000," a 3D animated feature film based on the characters and situations introduced in James Cameron's original "Terminator" movie, the companies have announced.
However, rights holder Pacificor has sent Hannover House CEO Eric Parkinson a a cease and desist letter in response to the press release issued on Thursday.
You see, Parkinson previously served as CEO of Hemdale Home Video and Hemdale Communications, which produced and handled the distribution of the first "Terminator" film.
In 1990, the company released the sequel rights to Carolco, which later transferred the rights to Halcyon Media. Pacificor now owns the property after winning a recent auction for the rights, which WME is handling.
Parkinson told Deadline that he has certain proprietary rights that allow him to make "Terminator 3000," arguing that the animation rights were excluded when Hemdale sold the "Terminator" rights to Carolco, and that when Parkinson left Hemdale, his settlement granted him those rights.
However, Pacificor has the intellectual rights to the "Terminator" property, so essentially, they can't make an animated movie without Parkinson, and Hannover can't make any movie without Pacificor, to whom Hannover House and Red Bear would be willing to pay a significant rights payment of $20 million to $30 million.
Both sides have reportedly arranged a meeting where the fate of the $70 million project will be decided.
Story details are being kept under wraps, but the writers and producers plan to minimize the violence in order to obtain a coveted PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
The last installment in the fading franchise, McG's "Terminator Salvation," was downright loathsome and frankly, I'm surprised someone is still willing to sink that much money into the series. The latest sequel failed to catch on without Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I can't imagine an animated version of this story being nearly as good as either of Cameron's movies.
That said, I'm sure Hannover House and Red Bear know they have their work cut out for them, and it's a shrewd move to chase the PG-13 rating, which didn't seem to limit the audience for action sequels such as "Live Free or Die Hard" and, yes, "Terminator Salvation."
"Terminator 3000" is scheduled to begin production in January 2011.
[Editor's Note: The image in this story is NOT from "Terminator 3000."]