Megan Ellison, Brother David Team on Next ‘Terminator’ Film, Close Rights Deal

The brother and sister producers have secured the rights to make the next "Terminator" films

Megan Ellison and her brother David Ellison will partner on producing future installments of “The Terminator” franchise, having jointly acquired the rights to the iconic brand first brought to the screen in 1984. 

The Ellisons, children of billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, acquired the rights from Pacificor and will co-produce future films. No price was stated, though a spokeswoman for Megan Ellison said it was south of $20 million.

The assets include rights to films, television projects, home entertainment and merchandise.

Megan Ellison first won an auction for the rights in May 2011, but it took another 18 months to hammer out the deal, in particular video game rights.

Pacificor, a Santa Barbara-based investment fund, bought the rights in 2010 by paying $29 million to Halcyon, which was then in bankruptcy.  Both Lionsgate and Sony were vying for the rights as well.

One potential wrinkle in the plan is that the rights could revert to James Cameron in 2019, according to the spokeswoman for Megan Ellison. However, that depends on a new copyright law that has not yet been tested in the courts.

As for what happens between now and then, the project needs a writer as none are presently engaged. The two Ellisons will produce through their production shingles, which specialize in divergent styles of films.

Megan Ellison will produce under her Annapurna banner, which has funded projects for critically beloved but commercially uneven filmmakers such as Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

David Ellison will produce under his Skydance Pictures banner, which has made studio tentpole films such as “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Jack Reacher,” which is due this month from Paramount.

Skydance’s Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake will executive produce.

The "Terminator" franchise has grossed $1.4 billion at the global box office, led by “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Cameron made the first two films while Jonathan Mostow made the third and McG the fourth.

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