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Terminator Film Series

by Andrew Casali
He first found major success with the science fiction action film The Terminator (1984) He found further critical acclaim for his use of special effects in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Once in Rome, Ovidio took over the editing when Cameron was stricken with food poisoning. During his illness, Cameron had a nightmare about an invincible robot hitman sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator, which later catapulted his film career. After completing a screenplay for The Terminator, Cameron decided to sell it so that he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing… Read more

He first found major success with the science fiction action film The Terminator (1984) He found further critical acclaim for his use of special effects in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Once in Rome, Ovidio took over the editing when Cameron was stricken with food poisoning. During his illness, Cameron had a nightmare about an invincible robot hitman sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator, which later catapulted his film career.

After completing a screenplay for The Terminator, Cameron decided to sell it so that he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing interest in the project, were unwilling to let a largely inexperienced feature film director make the movie. Finally, Cameron found a company called Hemdale Pictures, which was willing to let him direct. Gale Anne Hurd, who had started her own production company, Pacific Western Productions, had previously worked with Cameron in Roger Corman’s company and agreed to buy Cameron’s screenplay for one dollar, on the condition that Cameron direct the film. Hurd was signed on as producer, and Cameron finally got his first break as director. Orion Pictures distributed the film.Hurd and Cameron were married from 1985 to 1989.

After the success of The Terminator, there had been talk about a sequel to continue the story of Sarah Connor and her struggle against machines from the future. Although Cameron had come up with a core idea for the sequel and Schwarzenegger expressed interest in continuing the story, there were still problems regarding who had the rights to the story, as well as the logistics of the special effects needed to make the sequel. Finally, in late-1980s, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures secured the rights to the sequel, allowing Cameron to greenlight production of the film, now called Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

For the film, Linda Hamilton reprised her iconic role of Sarah Connor. In addition, Schwarzenegger also returned in his role as The Terminator, but this time as a protector. Unlike Schwarzenegger’s character—the T-800 Terminator which is made of a metal endoskeleton—the new villain of the sequel, called the T-1000, is a more-advanced Terminator made of liquid metal, and with polymorphic abilities. The T-1000 would also be much less bulky than the T-800. For the role, Cameron cast Robert Patrick, a sharp contrast to Schwarzenegger. Cameron explained, “I wanted someone who was extremely fast and agile. If the T-800 is a human Panzer tank, then the T-1000 is a Porsche.”

Cameron had originally wanted to incorporate this advanced-model Terminator into the first film, but the special effects at the time were not advanced enough. The ground-breaking effects used in The Abyss to digitally depict the water tentacle convinced Cameron that his liquid metal villain was now possible.

TriStar Pictures agreed to distribute the film, but under a locked release date only about one year after the start of shooting. The movie, co-written by Cameron and his longtime friend, William Wisher, Jr., had to go from screenplay to finished film in just that amount of time. Like Cameron’s previous film, it was one of the most expensive films of its era, with a budget of about $100 million. The biggest challenge of the movie was the special effects used in creating the T-1000. Nevertheless, the film was finished on time and released to theaters on July 3, 1991.

Terminator 2, or T2, as it was abbreviated, broke box-office records (including the opening weekend record for an R-rated film), earning over $200 million in the United States and Canada, and over $300 million in other territories, and became the highest-grossing film of that year. It won four Academy Awards: Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, but lost both Awards to JFK.

James Cameron announced a third Terminator film many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished scripts. Kassar and Vajna purchased the rights to the Terminator franchise from a bankruptcy sale of Carolco’s assets. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was eventually made and released in July 2003 without Cameron’s involvement. Jonathan Mostow directed the film and Schwarzenegger returned as the Terminator.

Cameron reunited with the main cast of Terminator 2 to film T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, an attraction at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan. It was released in 1996 and was a mini-sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The show is in two parts: a prequel segment in which a spokesperson talks about Cyberdyne, and a main feature, in which the performers interact with a 3-D movie.

For the role of the Terminator, Cameron envisioned a man who was not exceptionally muscular, who could “blend into” a crowd. Lance Henriksen, who had starred in Piranha II: The Spawning, was considered for the title role, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron first met over lunch to discuss Schwarzenegger’s playing the role of Kyle Reese, both came to the conclusion that the cyborg villain would be the more compelling role for the Austrian bodybuilder; Henriksen got the smaller part of LAPD detective Hal Vukovich and the role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn. In addition, Linda Hamilton first appeared in this film in her iconic role of Sarah Connor, and later married Cameron.

The Terminator was a box-office hit, breaking expectations by Orion Pictures executives that the film would be regarded as no more than a sci-fi film and only last a week in theaters. It was a low-budget film which cost $6.5 million to make, cutting expenses in such ways as recording the audio track in mono. However, The Terminator eventually earned over $78 million worldwide.

In 1984, Schwarzenegger appeared in James Cameron’s science-fiction thriller film The Terminator, which was a massive critical and box-office success. Schwarzenegger subsequently reprised the Terminator character in the franchise’s later installments in 1991, 2003, and 2015

In 1984, he made his first appearance as the eponymous character, and what some would say was his acting career’s signature role, in James Cameron’s science fiction thriller film The Terminator Schwarzenegger’s commercial peak was his return as the title character in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was the highest-grossing film of 1991. In 2003, he made his third appearance as the title character in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which went on to earn over $150 million domestically He had been rumored to be appearing in Terminator Salvation as the original T-800; he denied his involvement, but he ultimately did appear briefly via his image being inserted into the movie from stock footage of the first Terminator movie On March 6, 2011, at the Arnold Seminar of the Arnold Classic, Schwarzenegger revealed that he was being considered for several films, including sequels to The Terminator He starred in the fifth Terminator movie Terminator Genisys in 2015

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