With the rights to the Terminator franchise going up for auction, Joss Whedon (self-described “Very Important Hollywood Mogul”) has written an open letter to the Terminator owners:
I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where ‘hood’ was capitalized ’cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the ‘grapevine’ that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.
No, you didn’t miscount. That’s four — FOUR! — zeroes after that one. That’s to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here’s what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don’t ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture — and my pretend play — as any I can think of. It’s far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:
1) Terminator… of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far… back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? “Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!” RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he’s a cyborg and he doesn’t give a s#&% about the ring — it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he’s doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).
2) More Glau. Hey. There’s a reason they’re called “Summer” movies.
3) Can you say… musical? Well don’t. Even I know that’s an awful idea.
4) Christian Bale’s John Connor will get a throat lozenge. This will also help his Batwork (ten grand for that franchise too, btw.)
5) More porn. John Connor never told Kyle Reese this, but his main objective in going to the past was to get some. What if there’s a lot of future-babies that have to be made? Cue wah-wah pedal guitar — and dollar signs!
6) The movies will stop getting less cool.
Okay. There’s more — this brain don’t quit! (though it has occasionally been fired) — but I think you get my drift. I really believe the Terminator franchise has only begun to plumb the depths of questioning the human condition during awesome stunts, and I’d like to shepherd it through the next phase. The money is there, but more importantly, the heart is there. But more importantly, money. Think about it. End this bloody bidding war before it begins, and put the Terminator in the hands of someone who watched the first one more than any other movie in college, including “Song of Norway” (no current franchise offer).
Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
Let’s hope someone is listening. The last film entry was joyless and forgettable, and all the more painful given the real potential of the franchise. Salvation scored only $370 million at the box office, even less than the inconsequential Rise of the Machines ($430 million) and the benchmark Judgment Day ($520 million). Though unlikely to happen, it’s difficult to avoid getting exciting over what someone like Whedon could do with the concept.