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The name or term "Terminator" refers to more than one character or idea. For a list of other meanings, see Terminator (disambiguation).

TerminatorAnthology

The Terminator Anthology box set, containing all four films, will be released on August 28, 2012 exclusively at Best Buy in Region 1.[1]

Terminator is an American science fiction franchise that comprises four films, a television show, novels, comic books, video games, and tie‑in merchandise.

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 Wikipedia:human race. The titular "Terminator" refers to the various infiltration-combat Wikipedia: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.

Films

Film Director Writers Producer(s)
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

Overview

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 was released in 2009 and 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.

Development

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

Character Film
The Terminator
(1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
(1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
(2003)
Terminator Salvation
(2009)
The Terminator (Model 101) Arnold Schwarzenegger Roland Kickinger
John Connor Edward Furlong Nick Stahl Christian Bale
Sarah Connor Linda Hamilton
Kyle Reese Michael Biehn Anton Yelchin
Kate Brewster Claire Danes Bryce Dallas Howard
Dr. Peter Silberman Earl Boen
Miles Dyson Joe Morton
General Robert Brewster David Andrews
T-1000 Robert Patrick
T-X Kristanna Loken
Marcus Wright Sam Worthington

Box office

Film Release date (US) Budget Box office revenue Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide
1. The Terminator (1984) October 26, 1984 $6,400,000 $38,371,200 $40,000,000 $78,371,200 [2]
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) July 3, 1991 $102,000,000 $204,843,345 $315,000,000 $519,843,345 [3]
3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) July 2, 2003 $200,000,000 $150,371,112 $283,000,000 $433,371,112 [4]
4. Terminator Salvation (2009) May 21, 2009 $200,000,000 $125,322,469 $246,030,532 $371,353,001 [5]
Total $508,400,000 $518,908,126 $884,030,532 $1,402,938,658

Critical reaction

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Overall Top Critics
1. The Terminator (1984) 100% (44 reviews)[6] 100% (7 reviews)[6] 84 (11 reviews)[7]
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 98% (45 reviews)[8] 89% (9 reviews)[8] 68 (16 reviews)[9]
3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) 70% (198 reviews)[10] 67% (12 reviews)[10] 66 (41 reviews)[11]
4. Terminator Salvation (2009) 33% (265 reviews)[12] 26% (19 reviews)[12] 52 (35 reviews)[13]
Average Ratings 75% 71% 69

TV series

TitleCreatorRelease
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Josh Friedman 2007-present
Termination TBA 2009

Novels

TitleNoteAuthorRelease
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

Comics

TitleIssuesPublisherReleaseCollected print
The Terminator 17 NOW comics 1988-1989
Terminator: The Burning Earth 5 NOW comics 1990
Terminator: All My Futures Past 2 NOW comics 1990
The Terminator: Tempest 4 Dark Horse Comics 1990 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 1
The Terminator: One Shot 1 Dark Horse Comics 1991 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 1, Terminator: Rewired and The Terminator: Hunters and Killers (digital)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3 Marvel Comics 1991
The Terminator: Secondary Objectives 4 Dark Horse Comics 1991 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 1
The Terminator: The Enemy Within 4 Dark Horse Comics 1991-1992 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 1
The Terminator: Hunters and Killers 3 Dark Horse Comics 1992 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 2, Terminator: Rewired and The Terminator: Hunters and Killers (digital)
The Terminator: End Game 3 Dark Horse Comics 1992 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 2
RoboCop vs. The Terminator 4 Dark Horse Comics 1992
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Cybernetic Dawn 5 Malibu Comics 1995-1996
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Nuclear Twilight 5 Malibu Comics 1995-1996
The Terminator: Death Valley 5 Dark Horse Comics 1998 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 2, Terminator: Rewired and The Terminator: Hunters and Killers (digital)
The Terminator: The Dark Years 4 Dark Horse Comics 1999 The Terminator Omnibus Volume 2
Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future 5 Dark Horse Comics 2000
Aliens vs. Predator vs. The Terminator 4 Dark Horse Comics 2000
Terminator 3: Before the Rise 2 Beckett Comics 2003
Terminator 3: Eyes of the Rise 2 Beckett Comics 2003
Terminator 3: Fragmented 2 Beckett Comics 2003
Terminator 2: Infinity 5 Dynamite Entertainment 2005
Painkiller Jane vs. Terminator 4 Dynamite Entertainment 2007 Painkiller Jane vs. Terminator: Time to Kill
Terminator: Revolution 5 Dynamite Entertainment 2009
Terminator Salvation: Sand in the Gears 4 IDW Publishing 2009
Terminator Salvation 1 IDW Publishing 2009

Video games

TitleRelease
The Terminator 1990-1993
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 2029 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
Terminator Revenge 2006
Terminator Salvation 2009

Miscellaneous

Games (excl. v.g.)

Title Type Release
The Terminator Collectible Card Game Trading card game 2000

Theme park attractions

Title Type Release
T2 3-D: Battle Across Time 3-D experience 1996
Terminator: The Coaster Roller coaster 2009

Machinima series

Title Type Release
Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series Animated series 2009

Non-narrative books

Title Type Release
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

Soundtrack

TitleRelease
The Terminator Soundtrack 1984
Terminator 2: Judgment Day Soundtrack 1991
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Soundtrack 2003
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Soundtrack 2008
Terminator Salvation Soundtrack 2009

Notable commercial spots

TitleRelease
Terminator 3 Super Bowl XXXVII Commercial 2003

References

  1. "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. 
  2. "The Terminator (1984)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  3. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator2.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  4. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminator3.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  5. "Terminator Salvation (2009)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=terminatorsalvation.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Terminator". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator/. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  7. "The Terminator (1984): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_2_judgment_day/. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  9. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator2?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  10. 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. 
  11. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/terminator3?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Terminator Salvation". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_salvation/. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 
  13. "Terminator Salvation (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/terminatorsalvation?q=Terminator. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 

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