It’s not surprising that Paramount Pictures wants to reboot the Terminator film franchise. The last film in the series, Terminator: Salvation, didn’t really hit it out of the park, either critically and financially. However, what was surprising about the reboot was the participation of indie super-producer Megan Ellison and her production company Annapurna Pictures. Now she has opted to step away from her producer role in the franchise relaunch.
At age 27, Megan Ellison has earned a reputation for reaching out to high-profile directors who cannot find funding for their film projects. Directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, Kathryn Bigelow, and David O. Russell have received additional funding for their movies The Master, Her, Zero Dark Thirty, and American Hustle, respectively, with her help. Now Ellison has dropped out as one of the producers on Terminator: Genesis and will not help fund the new blockbuster, although she will still get an executive producer credit on the film. Deadline reports.
‘We have been working closely with the filmmakers and have the utmost faith in their abilities,’ said Megan Ellison. ‘We love this project and the direction it is going in, but for now Annapurna’s primary focus is to produce independent films. As I am staying on as executive producer, I am looking forward to working closely with David and Paramount to make a film that will live up to the brands’ legacy and one that I know audiences will love.’
Megan Ellison’s brother David will continue on as producer of Terminator: Genesis for his production company Skydance Productions, which is in the business of producing and funding blockbusters such as Mission: Impossible, Jack Reacher, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, World War Z, and Star Trek Into Darkness. The Deadline story continues:
‘Skydance Productions focuses on elevated event-level filmmaking and the relaunch of this iconic franchise is a perfect match for our company,’ said David Ellison. ‘I am very confident in our top-notch creative team and the material driving this project. I’m grateful to Megan, who will remain involved as an executive producer, and for initially bringing the Terminator franchise to us. I look forward to our continued creative partnership as we prep for production in April.
It’s sad to see Megan Ellison drop out of Terminator: Genesis. The box office receipts from the blockbuster would’ve gone on to finance other smaller American art films from directors like Harmony Korine and his 2013 film Spring Breakers. It’s a shame movie studios are unwilling to fund small $30 million movies like The Master and Her, but that’s just the state of Hollywood at the moment. It’s hard to believe that high-quality directors like Paul Thomas Anderson can’t find funding to make movies. Studios are more willing to put up $200 million for blockbusters to make movies that are seen as a safer bet at the box office. (Although that’s hardly a given.)
Genesis has cast Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) to play Sarah Connor, while Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) — no relation — was cast to play her son John. Considering the big age difference between the two actors, it’s going to be interesting to see how time travel will play into the reboot. Incorporating more leaps through time into the Terminator franchise could give the new installments their own identity without negating the original films.
Screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) penned the film’s screenplay, and the pair will serve as executive producers on the recently announced Terminator TV series that will line up with the new reboot trilogy. Screenwriters Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-Men: First Class, Thor) will write episodes for the show and will most likely be the series’ new showrunners. Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World) is expected to direct the new film.
Terminator: Genesis hits theaters everywhere on July 1, 2015.