ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

Terminator Genisys has had a rocky reception from day one: Earning only $89 million in domestic ticket sales, Terminator 5 performed better overseas, but still received mixed (and mostly negative) reviews from fans and critics alike. Hopes for Terminator 6 (&7) were tentatively high when the final box office totals for Genisys came in at $440 million, but recent news seems to have dashed those hopes once and for all.

Terminator Genisys isn't a terrible film. It's fun and action packed, taking a nostalgic look back over the origins of the Terminator franchise, while pushing the plot in a new direction. However, this new direction took a lot of setting up, and the movie was burdened with convoluted exposition and unanswered questions. Intended to be continued in two sequels (and a connecting TV show), plans for a Terminator Genisys cinematic universe seem to have been scrapped, but thanks to James Cameron regaining the rights in 2019, this might just be the best thing for the franchise...

Shelved Indefinitely

This rumor comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, and it's according to an anonymous source. Make of that what you will, but THR's rumors always come from industry sources, predicting which sequels will fly and which will flop.

"[Terminator Genisys] will still will lose money, and sources say the notion of a Terminator universe is on hold indefinitely."

Sarah Connor might keep her happy ending
Sarah Connor might keep her happy ending

It might be that what is on hold is the idea of a "Terminator universe" — the original plans for the rebooted franchise were to film Terminator 6 and 7 back to back, completing the Genisys trilogy, and tying in a TV show to get people interested, along with comics and merchandise. Considering the disappointing box office numbers, it would be quite foolish to go ahead with such ambitious plans now. But it's possible that Paramount are planning to greenlight Terminator 6 and judge the franchise's future on the sequel's reception.

This is all speculation, of course, but this rumor definitely doesn't mean we won't see anything more from the Terminator franchise in the near future, especially when we consider James Cameron's renewed involvement...

Cameron Gets The Copyright

James Cameron was hugely instrumental in Terminator's success — he wrote and directed T1 and T2: Judgement Day, and his distinctive style helped the films rocket to cult favorite status. However, he made one of the biggest mistakes of his life early on in the franchise's history, when he sold the rights for a measly $1 before the first movie was even released.

Cameron on the set of T2
Cameron on the set of T2

Back in 1984, Cameron was a relatively unknown director, and sold the rights so that he could direct the movie he wrote (Terminator 1). Since then, he has risen to fame, and has spoken candidly about how he regrets his decision.

"I wish I hadn’t sold the rights for one dollar. If I had a little time machine and I could only send back something the length of a tweet, it’d be — don’t sell."

Because Cameron didn't hold the copyright, the franchise was bounced around from studio to studio, which is one of the reasons the subsequent sequels lack a cohesive overarcing plot. Terminator Genisys was Paramount's rushed attempt to pull the franchise back together, as crucially, the rights revert back to James Cameron in 2019.

Previously stating that he doesn't really pay attention to the Terminator franchise after Judgement Day, James Cameron's interest in the franchise was renewed by Genisys.

Cameron insisted on the T800's role
Cameron insisted on the T800's role

While he wasn't involved in the creation of the film, he publicly praised it, flattered by its respect for the first two films and confident that the new plotline could restore fan faith in the story.

"[Terminator Genisys], which I think of as the third film, is a riff against expectation. It’s being very respectful of the first two films. I feel like the franchise has been reinvigorated, like this is a renaissance."

This wasn't just a publicity gambit: Cameron has not been quiet about how little he cares for Terminator 3, 4, and the TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So could this mean he might make more Terminator films when the copyright is returned to him?

Re-invention & Returning To Roots

It's difficult to judge whether James Cameron will actually pick up Terminator 6, but the outlook is definitely hopeful: He regrets selling the rights, and he likes the direction Genisys was going. The major stumbling block is the fact that he's a pretty big deal now, and very busy with 2, 3 and 4. But Cameron has stated an interest in renewing , as he revealed to Empire last year...

"It might be fun to completely re-invent the franchise. A lot has to do with what happens with it in the meantime, people may have Terminator fatigue. But I'm just visiting Earth tonight; I normally live on Pandora, where I work!"

Directing the mega-blockbuster Avatar
Directing the mega-blockbuster Avatar

James Cameron is also busy with side-projects, which include his submarine expeditions to visit the wreck of the Titanic. But he has a great love for Terminator and who knows, maybe come 2019 his "don't sell!" time travel dreams might come true.

Cameron back at the helm of Terminator 6 might be just what the franchise needs. While Genisys was enjoyable, it definitely had issues. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the continuation of the franchise has been its PG-13 ratings — the original two films were rated R, which allowed them to delve into the gritty and often horrifying themes of the story. Perhaps Cameron picking up Terminator 6 might herald a return to the R rating, and the darker plot that made the original films so good.

For now, all we have is rumor and hearsay, but the possibilities are hopeful. So don't give up on the franchise just yet — it's not terminated, just postponed!


[Sources: THR, Yahoo via Cinemablend, Empire]


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