One Franchise For Sale, Needs Work, $70 Million O/B/O
Sorry, Joss Whedon -- the owners of the Terminator franchise have officially repelled your hostile takeover attempt in favor of placing their asset on the open market this winter. But that's the easy part. While its bankrupt guardians at the Halcyon Company purchased the rights two years ago for $30 million, they'll have a little harder time determining what that figure has appreciated to in 2009.
After all, you won't find a lot of franchises -- particularly tentpoles -- that aren't garaged at a mainstream studio, where the only valuations that usually matter are those tabulated at the bottom of a budget and weekend box office receipts. Those will come in only somewhat handy in figuring what Terminator is worth, with this year's Terminator Salvation pulling down $371.1 million worldwide on a budget near $200 million.
Hardly stunning by any means (the Hangover franchise is probably worth more at this point), but the hedge fund that underwrote Halcyon's Terminator acquisition in 2007 would actually have you refer to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand as a comparable recent sale: Nickelodeon snagged those rights for $60 million, and TMNT doesn't have the benefit of Christian Bale or Arnold Schwarzenegger as potential returnees. You probably can't discount Sony's $60 million pick-up of Michael Jackson's This is It, either, which obviously wasn't a franchise but is a reasonable enough barometer of how we evaluate media platforms and brand loyalty among dodgy international audiences in 2009.
So who knows? Just put Terminator on eBay with a $70 million reserve and free shipping. Everyone loves free shipping.
· Halcyon puts Terminator on block [Variety]