Primarily created by James Cameron, the franchise mainly centers around the battles between Skynet's artificially intelligent machine network and John Connor's Resistance forces and the rest of the human race. The titular "Terminator" refers to the various infiltration-combat autonomous robots, notably the Model 101 T-800 unit, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, manufactured by Skynet in its war against humanity. The original film was written by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd, with additional uncredited input from William Wisher, and directed by the former, who returned with the same duties for the first sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). The films have grossed over $1.4 billion at the box-office worldwide.
The first film was conceived from a nightmare Cameron had, with acknowledged inspiration from the works of Harlan Ellison, and released in 1984 to wide commercial and critical success. However, legal troubles and creative differences have led to the rights being passed on to different production companies for every subsequent film. In 1996, T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, a theme park attraction, opened in Universal Studios Florida, and has since expanded to other Universal Parks & Resorts locations; it is still operating today. In 2008, a television series titled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premiered as an alternate continuation to the first two films, as opposed to following up from the last two films, but was canceled after two seasons. Additionally, numerous novels, comic books, and video games expanding upon the Terminator universe have been produced over the years.
|The Terminator (1984)||James Cameron||James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd||Gale Anne Hurd|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)||James Cameron and William Wisher, Jr.||James Cameron|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)||Jonathan Mostow||John Brancato and Michael Ferris||Hal Lieberman, Colin Wilson, Mario F. Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna, Joel B. Michaels|
|Terminator Salvation (2009)||McG||Moritz Borman, Jeffrey Silver, Victor Kubicek, Derek Anderson|
|Terminator Genisys (2015)||Alan Taylor||Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier||David Ellison, Dana Goldberg|
|Terminator (2019)||Tim Miller||David S. Goyer||James Cameron|
In The Terminator (1984), John Connor successfully leads the Human Resistance in destroying Skynet's defense grid, winning the long-fought war between man and machine. As a last ditch attempt to save itself, Skynet sends a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back 45 years in time to 1984 to assassinate Sarah Connor, the mother of the leader of the Resistance. Shortly thereafter, Kyle Reese volunteers to go through a time displacement portal to protect John's mother and arrives in the same time period. Although initially skeptical of Kyle, Sarah later accepts his explanations after the seemingly unstoppable cyborg continually attempts to kill her, and conceives John with him. The Terminator eventually tracks them down, and all three of them end up in a factory, where Kyle heroically shoves a pipe bomb into the Terminator, killing himself and severely damaging it. Still partially functional, it chases Sarah, but she manages to lead it into a hydraulic press, crushing and deactivating it.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) picks up about ten years later. It is learned that in the future, Skynet had also sent back a T-1000 (Robert Patrick) to assassinate a young John (Edward Furlong) in case the first Terminator failed. Because of this, John sent a reprogrammed T-800 back to protect his past self as well. Back in 1994, John is under foster care, Sarah has been arrested and placed into a criminally insane hospital after a failed bomb attempt at a computer factory, and the remnants of the Terminator from the first film are in the process of reverse engineering by Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) and Cyberdyne Systems, which would eventually become the basis of Skynet and its initiation of the ensuing nuclear apocalypse known as "Judgment Day" in 1997. When the T-1000, T-800, and John coincide at a shopping mall, the latter two manage to escape, and in turn, help Sarah escape the hospital. From there, Sarah planned to kill Miles Dyson because of his work, but couldn't do it when the time came. Instead, the four of them break into the Cyberdyne building and seemingly destroy all traces of Skynet-related projects and research, with Miles dying in the process. The T-1000 pursues the other three to a steel mill, where a climactic battle between the T-800 and T-1000 ends with the latter falling into a vat of molten steel. In order to make sure Skynet is not created, the T-800 sacrifices itself and is lowered and destroyed in the vat as well.
In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), the events of the previous film has altered time. In the future, Skynet is still alive and well in 2032, in which it had finally killed John (Nick Stahl) with a T-850, but the war is still not over. To ensure solid victory, it sends a T-X (Kristanna Loken), its most advanced infiltration-combat unit to date, to 2004 to assassinate Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), John's second-in-command and wife, and future lieutenants of the Resistance. The same T-850 that killed John is captured, reprogrammed, and also sent back in time by Kate to protect John and her past self. In the years since T2, Sarah died of leukemia, but lived long enough to see that Judgment Day hadn't occurred, John had lived "off-the-grid," and the United States Air Force acquired Cyberdyne and took over the Skynet project for its Cyber Research Systems division. After the T-850 saves John and Kate from the T-X's initial attack, it explains that Judgment Day was not averted, but only postponed, and that it was programmed to get them to a safe location to survive Judgment Day. Plans change, however, when Kate orders it to help her and John prevent Skynet from being activated. They arrive at the Cyber Research Systems facility, which is headed by Kate's father, General Robert Brewster (David Andrews), but find that it's too late: Skynet had already been activated in order to stop the spread of a supercomputer virus. The T-X then shows up around the same time, killing Robert and taking control of early Terminator and Hunter-Killer units. It then wins a fight against the T-850 and follows John and Kate to Crystal Peak, where they believe Skynet's system core is located. The T-850 reboots just in time to stop the T-X from killing the couple before the blast door to the entrance of Crystal Peak closes, and destroys it and itself. John and Kate walk in and learn that there is no core, that Skynet exists as software in cyberspace, and that Crystal Peak was just a fallout shelter for survival of Judgment Day, which commences outside.
Terminator Salvation (2009) shifted the focus of the film series to the future war instead of the pre-Judgment Day present. In 2003, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a convict, donates his body to Dr. Serena Kogen (Helena Bonham Carter) of the Genetics Division of Cyberdyne Systems, so that she can use his body after his execution to further her research in her fight against cancer. In 2018, fourteen years after Judgment Day occurred, John (Christian Bale) and his Resistance soldiers attack a Skynet base and learn that Skynet has been working on incorporating living tissue on Terminator endoskeleton for infiltration purposes. However, the base is bombed, and John is the only survivor, though Marcus wakes up from the wreckage several hours later. Marcus confusingly walks around a post-apocalyptic world and stumbles upon Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), who explains everything that has happened. They then travel on foot in search of the Resistance, but are later separated when Kyle is captured. Marcus meets a Resistance pilot, who takes him to John's base, but a landmine explosion reveals him to be a cyborg with human organs. After much suspicion, John finally lets him go after Marcus promises to lead him to Skynet Central to rescue Kyle. There, they do what was planned, but not before John is mortally injured by a T-800 prototype, and are airlifted out as the base is destroyed from detonating fuel cells. Because of impending heart failure from the injury, Marcus chooses to give his heart to John, so that the latter can get a second chance and live to lead the Resistance as the war rages on.
In Terminator Genisys (2015), the story takes place in an alternate reality resulting from a chain of events related to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout a previous timeline. Prior to this alteration, on the verge of winning the war against Skynet, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his trusted right-hand officer Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back through time to save his mother's life and ensure his own existence, but Kyle arrives at an alternate timeline where Skynet had never launched its initial attack in 1997, and, therefore, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) was brought up by a reprogrammed Terminator (Schwarzenegger), sent by an unknown party to be her guardian ever since childhood. Now Sarah, Kyle and the Guardian need to escape the T-800 Model 101 (Brett Azar with CG-rendered likeness of Schwarzenegger from the first film), the T-1000 (Byung-hun Lee) and Skynet's mysterious nanocyte prototype: the T-3000, in an attempt to stop Judgment Day from ever happening; while trying to uncover the secrets behind Cyberdyne Systems' new application software: Genisys. Assisting the trio is Detective O'Brien (Simmons), whose investigation into Terminators and time travelers lead him to learn about Skynet, and helps the protagonists in their mission to avert Judgment Day.
The idea for The Terminator originated from a feverous dream that writer-director James Cameron had while in Rome for post-production of Piranha II. The dominant imagery he remembered was a "chrome torso emerging, phoenix-like, from an explosion and dragging itself across the floor while carrying kitchen knives." As an artist and avid science fiction fan, he sketched the image out on paper and developed a story from the dream, but also took direct inspiration from two Outer Limits episodes written by Harlan Ellison, whose credit would later be acknowledged in home media releases. William Wisher, Jr., a friend of Cameron’s, helped him write additional dialogue and scenes, while Gale Anne Hurd polished and took the “rough edges off” the first drafts, though Cameron contends that the latter “did no actual writing at all.” On writing the film, Cameron said that he wanted to "basically [...] give the audience an E-Ticket ride [a la the old Disneyland ticket scheme]," but wanted a worthwhile story, so that they could "talk about it afterwards, but not to have to try and figure out what it is they just saw." To bolster their producer-director team collaboration, Cameron entrusted Hurd with the rights of the film by selling it to her for $1 on the basis that she would produce only if he directed it. Because of this, Cameron has made no money from the two sequels that followed T2, nor from home media and merchandising sales, but he has not regretted that decision, saying that he now has "a career as a result."
When Cameron initially developed the story for The Terminator, he thought of the film in two stages: the first would eventually become what is The Terminator, and "[i]n the end, the mechanical guy is destroyed," while the second involved the machines saying, "'Well, wait a minute, that didn't work; what else do we have?' And the answer is something terrible, something even they're afraid of," which is the T-1000. However, he eventually realized that it all couldn't fit into one film and that no one would fund so much for such technology. After Aliens and The Abyss, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures bought the Terminator rights by paying $5 million each to Gale Anne Hurd and the financially troubled Hemdale Film Corporation, and approached Cameron about the sequel, offering him $6 million. He agreed and brought along William Wisher to co-write, using the original T-1000 concept as the premise to push the storytelling as well as the visual effects. Cameron wanted the film to stand on its own, saying that "I had to write the script just like there had never been a first film."
Though Carolco Pictures found huge success with Terminator 2, it also had huge box office bombs, like Cutthroat Island, that eventually made the company go bankrupt. Mario Kassar and his partner Andrew Vajna, still interested in making a second sequel, formed a new company called C2 Pictures and swept up half of the rights at a Carolco bankruptcy auction for $8 million and paid Gale Anne Hurd $7 million for the other half. Upset that 20th Century Fox was not participating in the film, which he established a relationship with after Titanic, Cameron refused to return to write and direct, saying, "I don't control the rights, and to build value in someone else's franchise really doesn't make sense." Nevertheless, development of the third film continued as Arnold agreed to return and Jonathan Mostow was hired to direct. The initial draft of the film was written by Tedi Sarafian, but it would have cost $300 million to produce, so John Brancato and Michael Ferris were signed on to rewrite the script.
The third and fourth films were initially planned at the same time, with the idea that they would be developed back-to-back. David C. Wilson wrote a T4 draft as Tedi Sarafian worked on T3, but the collaborative production never came into fruition. Following T3's success, Jonathan Mostow, John Brancato, and Michael Ferris agreed to return for a sequel, even finishing a completed script, but creative differences at C2 Pictures forced the fourth film’s production to halt. These creative differences eventually led to the dissolution of Mario Kassar’s and Andrew Vajna’s partnership and to the rights being put back up for auction. Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson of the Halcyon Company saw the opportunity, and with the financing of hedge fund Pacificor, bought them for undisclosed amount, hoping to expand the franchise’s audience base. Using John Brancato’s and Michael Ferris’ original T4 script, they hired McG to direct, who casted Christian Bale, who, in turn, asked for a major rewrite of the script, so that John Connor’s role could be lengthened into a main role. Various writers, notably Jonathan Nolan, contributed to the script, but the concept of the human-cyborg Marcus was kept intact.
With the underwhelming performance of Terminator Salvation at the box office, the Halcyon Company could not keep up with the loans from Pacificor and other litigations, going bankrupt and putting the rights on sale. Film studios like Lionsgate and Sony Pictures were interested, but Pacificor itself eventually won the rights for $29.5 million. However, because it isn’t a film studio and isn’t well-versed in film productions, Pacificor put it back up for auction, in which Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures acquired them for a rumored $20 million. The current deal for a fifth film is for Arnold to return and Justin Lin to direct.
Cast and characters
| The Terminator|
| Terminator 2: Judgment Day|
| Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines|
| Terminator Salvation|
| Terminator Genisys|
|The Terminator (Model 101)||Arnold Schwarzenegger||Roland Kickinger||Arnold Schwarzenegger|
|John Connor||Edward Furlong||Nick Stahl||Christian Bale||Jason Clarke|
|Sarah Connor||Linda Hamilton||Emilia Clarke|
|Kyle Reese||Michael Biehn||Anton Yelchin||Jai Courtney|
|Kate Brewster||Claire Danes||Bryce Dallas Howard|
|Dr. Peter Silberman||Earl Boen|
|Miles Dyson||Joe Morton||Courtney B. Vance|
|General Robert Brewster||David Andrews|
|T-1000||Robert Patrick||Byung-hun Lee|
|Marcus Wright||Sam Worthington|
|Film||Release date (US)||Budget||Box office revenue||Reference|
|1. The Terminator (1984)||October 26, 1984||$6,400,000||$38,371,200||$40,000,000||$78,371,200|||
|2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)||July 3, 1991||$102,000,000||$204,843,345||$315,000,000||$519,843,345|||
|3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)||July 2, 2003||$200,000,000||$150,371,112||$283,000,000||$433,371,112|||
|4. Terminator Salvation (2009)||May 21, 2009||$200,000,000||$125,322,469||$246,030,532||$371,353,001|||
|5. Terminator Genisys (2015)||July 1, 2015||$155,000,000||$89,760,956||$350,842,581||$440,603,537|
|1. The Terminator (1984)||100% (45 reviews)||100% (7 reviews)||84 (11 reviews)|
|2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)||93% (67 reviews)||89% (9 reviews)||68 (16 reviews)|
|3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)||70% (201 reviews)||67% (12 reviews)||66 (41 reviews)|
|4. Terminator Salvation (2009)||33% (268 reviews)||26% (19 reviews)||52 (35 reviews)|
|Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||Josh Friedman||2007-2009|
|The Terminator||Movie novelization||Shaun Hutson||1984|
|The Terminator||Movie novelization||Randall Frakes||1991|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Movie novelization||Randall Frakes||1991|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Movie novelization||Jeff Campbell||1998|
|T2: Infiltrator||Part 1 of the "Stirling series"||S.M. Stirling||2002|
|T2: Rising Storm||Part 2 of the "Stirling series"||S.M. Stirling||2003|
|T2: The Future War||Part 3 of the "Stirling series"||S.M. Stirling||2004|
|Dark Futures||Part 1 of The New John Connor Chronicles||Russell Blackford||2002|
|An Evil Hour||Part 2 of The New John Connor Chronicles||Russell Blackford||2003|
|Times of Trouble||Part 3 of The New John Connor Chronicles||Russell Blackford||2003|
|Hour of the Wolf||Sequel to The New John Connor Chronicles||Mark W. Tiedemann||2004|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines||Movie novelization||David Hagberg||2003|
|Terminator Dreams||Part 1 of the "Allston series"||Aaron Allston||2004|
|Terminator Hunt||Part 2 of the "Allston series"||Aaron Allston||2004|
|Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes||Movie prequel stand-alone||Timothy Zahn||2009|
|Terminator Salvation||Movie novelization||Alan Dean Foster||2009|
|Terminator Salvation: Cold War||Movie prequel stand-alone||Greg Cox||2009|
|Terminator Salvation: Trial by Fire||Movie sequel stand-alone||Timothy Zahn||2009|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day (video game)||1991-1993|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day (pinball)||1991|
|Terminator (LCD Video Game)||1991|
|Terminator 2: The Arcade Game||1992|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Chess Wars||1993|
|Robocop versus The Terminator||1993|
|The Terminator: Rampage||1993|
|The Terminator: Future Shock||1995|
|The Terminator: Skynet||1996|
|The Terminator: Dawn of Fate||2002|
|Terminator 3: War of the Machines||2003|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (video game)||2003|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (pinball)||2003|
|The Terminator (mobile game)||2003|
|Terminator 3: The Redemption||2004|
|The Terminator: I'm Back!||2004|
Games (excl. v.g.)
|The Terminator Collectible Card Game||Trading card game||2000|
Theme park attractions
|T2 3-D: Battle Across Time||3-D experience||1996|
|Terminator: The Coaster||Roller coaster||2009|
|Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series||Animated series||2009|
|The Making of Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Making of book||1991|
|Terminator 2 - Judgment Day: The Book Of The Film - An Illustrated Screenplay||Movie companion||1997|
|Terminator: Dawn of Fate: Prima's Official Strategy Guide||Video game companion||2002|
|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: Prima's Official Strategy Guide||Video game companion||2003|
|Terminator Salvation: The Official Companion||Movie companion||2009|
|Terminator Vault: The Complete Story Behind the Making of The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day||Making of book||2013|
|Terminator Genisys: Resetting the Future||Making of book||2015|
Notable commercial spots
|Terminator 3 Super Bowl XXXVII Commercial||2003|
- ↑ "The Terminator Anthology Blu-ray Set To Be A Best Buy Exclusive". InsidePulse.com. http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/01/the-terminator-anthology-blu-ray-set-to-be-a-best-buy-exclusive/. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- ↑ "The Terminator (1984)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- ↑ "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator2.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- ↑ "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator3.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- ↑ "Terminator Salvation (2009)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminatorsalvation.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "The Terminator". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator/. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ "The Terminator (1984): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_2_judgment_day/. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator2?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_3_rise_of_the_machines/. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator3?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 "Terminator Salvation". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_salvation/. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- ↑ "Terminator Salvation (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/terminatorsalvation?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18.