Next month will see Terminator: Dark Fate‘s long-awaited release, marking the fifth follow-up to the original Terminator released back in 1984. The new film will, however, act as a direct sequel to Terminator 2 of 1991: Judgement Day. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the author of the original film, Gale Anne Hurd, has “moved to end a 35-year-old copyright grant.” This means they could be lost by the current rights owner, Skydance Entertainment, by November 2020. David Ellison acquired the rights from his sister, Megan Ellison. Megan Ellison purchased them at an auction in 2011 for $20 million, according to the report.
Hurd’s ability is beneficial
Hurd’s ability to move forward with this plan is due to a law amended by Congress. In the 1970s a law that allows authors to “retrieve rights from studios after a few decades of waiting”. Hollywood Reporter explains that the termination provision was mostly used by musicians. However, records “show a flurry of termination notices in the past year” that also includes screenwriters. This now “threatens to unsettle who owns the ability to make sequels and reboots from the mid-to-late-’80s of iconic films.”
The Great 35-year mark
Now that the 35-year mark is approaching for many big properties, THR wonders how this will alter “an industry that prizes preexisting intellectual property.” They believe studios might be “hesitant to greenlight anything under a legal cloud.”
50-50 Ownership with Cameron
When it comes to The Terminator, it seems Hurd will have a 50-50 ownership split with James Cameron, the original film’s director who is producing the upcoming movie. If Skydance wants to continue making more movies after Dark Fate, they might have to renegotiate with both Cameron and Hurd.
After the THR published their story, Skydance Media responded with a statement: “Skydance has a deal in place with Jim Cameron and controls the rights to the Terminator franchise for the foreseeable future,” while Hurd did not respond for comment.