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The Terminator, Is Salvation Here?

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The catch phrases "I'll be back", "Hasta La Vista, Baby!", and "Come with me if you want to live" will forever be etched in the minds of those who have seen the Terminator trilogy.

The Terminator is one of the most wildly popular science fiction/action films to have ever hit the big screen in recent memory.

Directed and co-written by James Cameron, the film features the burly Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role as the "Terminator" which is a seemingly unstoppable cyborg from the future.

In the first offering of the Terminator which was released in 1984, Arnie plays the T1, cyborg assassin sent back from the future by an artificial intelligent computer program bent on the eradicating the human race.

Its sole mission is to terminate Sarah Connor, whose future son will one day become the leader of an underground human resistance against the machines.

The Terminator was a low-budget movie pegged at $6.5 million but it turned out to be a surprise box-office hit by raking in $38,371,200 on U.S. soil, and even surged on to gross more than $78 million worldwide and gave Schwarzenegger solid box-office salability despite his reputation as a stiff and bland actor.

The film's unique storyline and cinematography gave the movie a cult following more notably with bikers.

In the sequel "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (abbreviated as T2) released in 1991, the storyline picks up ten years after the events of the first film.

The plot follows Sarah Connor, now hardened by her past experience from being hunted down, on a mission to prevent Judgment Day- a day in the future when the machines begin to exterminate the human race.

In order to do so, the Skynet program must be stopped from being developed while avoiding the new version terminator sent to kill the Connors.

This second offering of the Terminator introduces the now 10 year-old John Connor and Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the T1, but this time as the protector, sent back from the future to help the Connors and prevent Judgment Day from happening.

The new Terminator sent back to kill the Connors is a bad-ass liquid-mercury type which can change its shape and become liquid and seems to be indestructible.

The action sequences were more breath-taking this time around with the help of computer animation. The film's visual effects included many breakthroughs in CG effects and were the first to use natural human actions for a computer-generated character. The film hauled four Academy Awards in: makeup, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects. It was also nominated for two more awards in the Best Cinematography and Film Editing categories.

Like its predessor T2 was a significant box office success even though it was made to the tune of approximately $100 million- the most expensive movie ever made at that time.

It pulled a cool $204.8 million in the U.S. alone and was the highest grossing film of 1991. It was also considered as one of the best produced Hollywood action films during its time and became the benchmark for film-making in the action and science fiction genre.

In "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (or T3), a slight problem arose when Schwarzenegger initially refused to reprise his role because Cameron, the director of the first two films, declined to participate despite being urged to do so.

But Cameron felt that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his creation, so he advised the star to simply do the third film without him but to ask for no less than $30 million in talent fee.

This third installment eventually came to be the actor's final starring role before becoming the Governor of California. This third part of the Terminator franchise only made $150 million in the U.S., failing to outdo its predecessor's performance at the box-office. But it fared better overseas and garnered a total gross of $433 million worldwide.

The T3 film continues without Sarah Connor but focused more on a now adult John Connor who has gone under the radar to avoid being detected by the A.I. computer program called "Skynet".

Failing to find and eliminate the Connors as depicted in the previous films, the machine sends out a new terminator model called T-X just before Judgment Day to wipe out the present version of the future resistance officers in a last attempt to alter the future.

Yet as the story unfolds, this sultry looking T-X model coincidentally found Connor together with future wife Katherine Brewster and relentlessly hunted them down like a bloodhound chasing escaped fugitives.

Schwarzenegger's cyborg character took up the challenge of protecting the future lovebirds against the more advanced machine. Edge-of-your-seat chase and fighting sequences ensue which made for a fun and thrilling ride all the way to the conclusion of the movie, but in the end, Judgment Day was inevitable.

As fate would have it, Connor and Brewster survived the holocaust to become leaders of the resistance against the machines.

The Terminator Timeline


The Terminator debuts.

Directed by James Cameron and co-produced by his future wife, Gale Anne Hurd, and Hemdale Films. Made for $6.4 million, the film pulls in $78 million worldwide. Meanwhile, the first wave of novelizations hits bookstores and a franchise is born.


The first Terminator based comic a 17-issue run by NOW Comics is published. Some of the series' subplots are silly a village filled with T-800 bakers, cops, and but NOW later releases Terminator: The Burning Earth award-winning artist Alex Ross' first published work


The first Terminator videogame for PCs hits the streets, sparking more than two dozen iterations across a wide array of consoles. Flush with Rambo dough, indie film studio Carolco Pictures acquires Hemdale's rights for a film follow-up. Cameron signs on to direct

1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day at $100 million, then the most expensive production in Hollywood history is the of the year, eclipsing $200 million in the US and $520 million worldwide


T2 mania is in full swing. Metallic T-800 skulls show up on backpacks, boxer shorts, lunch boxes, and cubicle walls as licensees like Kenner and MacFarlane Toys see total sales for Terminator-related merchandise climb into the nine-digit range


Thanks to pricey flops like Cutthroat Island and Showgirls, Carolco files for bankruptcy. Because the company owns half the Terminator rights, suddenly the franchise's future is uncertain


T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, a 12-minute theme-park attraction, opens at Universal Studios in Orlando. One of the priciest ($60 million) and most complex attractions ever, it's codirected and written by Cameron and features original performances by all of T2's principal actors


Producers Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar pay $8 million at auction for Carolco's half of the rights to Terminator and, later, fork out an additional $7 million to acquire Hurd's half. The third installment of Terminator lurches forward without Cameron, who passes on directing


Director Jonathan Mostow spends a whopping $187 million to make Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It makes a modest $44 million on opening weekend, but its ultimate box-office gross lifts the film franchise's total to $1 billion worldwide.


Privately owned Halcyon buys all Terminator rights from Vajna and Kassar for an undisclosed amount. After suing MGM for holding up production on a sequel, it signs a deal with Warner Bros. Charlie's Angels director Mc G is tapped to helm T4, the first installment of a new trilogy


The Sarah Connor Chronicles, starring Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, and Summer Glau, debuts to 18.3 million viewers. It's a critical darling but struggles for ratings and is hobbled by the Writers Guild strike. Nonetheless, Fox renews the series for another season.


Warner Bros. is set to release the $200 million, post apocalyptic Terminator Salvation starring Christian Bale, in nearly 4,000 theaters on Memorial Day weekend. A battalion of next-gen videogames is in the works, and a $10 million, 2,850-foot-long Terminator roller coaster opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

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