Back in August of 2010, Hannover House (an entertainment distribution division of Target Development Group, Inc.) announced a development deal with Vancouver-based Red Bear Entertainment to make TERMINATOR 3000, a $70-million dollar budgeted, 3D animated feature film based on the characters from the original 1984 classic “The Terminator”. Apparently the T-800, Sarah and Kyle would all be back… animated style!
Story details for “Terminator 3000” remained in secrecy, but Hanover House did announce the graphic violence in the new Terminator animated film would be minimized, to assure a PG-13 rating. Terminator fans were cautiously excited about the news, but the animated film was ultimately never made. So what happened?
It starts with knowing that the chief executive officer of Hannover House in 2010 (the company that would make “Terminator 3000”) also served as the chief executive officer of Hemdale back in 1984 (the company that handled the distribution of the original 1984 classic “The Terminator”). His name was Eric Parkinson.
Parkinson, who wasn’t recognized as the rights owner to the Terminator franchise, said while he didn’t have the rights to make a Terminator live action film, he did have certain proprietary rights possibly allowing him to make an animated Terminator film. And that film would be “Terminator 3000”. He told Deadline on August 13th, 2010 that:
“The animation rights were excluded when Hemdale sold Terminator to Carolco and when I left Hemdale, part of my settlement was that I got those rights.” “However, the way the rest of the contractual rights are written, it would be dangerous for us to do this without Pacificor’s (the current Terminator rights holder’s) approval. They have certain intellectual rights. The best way to put it is, they can’t make an animated film without me, and we might not be able to make it without them.”
So the C.E.O of Hannover House Eric Parkinson insisted he owned animation rights to the Terminator franchise, and he reportedly even “might” be able to make a Terminator animated film without the current Terminator rights holder’s approval.
However, that didn’t stop the legal representation of the current Terminator rights holder (at the time) Pacificor, to cry “foul” and send Parkinson a cease and desist letter. Here is the entire letter below:
HILL & TRAGER, LLP
Attorneys At Law
August 13, 2010
Fred Shefte, President Eric Parkinson, CEO
Target Development Group, Inc. Susannah Patton, Director
1428 Chester Street Hanover House
Springdale, AR 72764 1428 Chester Street
Springdale, AR 72764
Eric Parkinson, President and CEO
Truman Press, Inc.
1722 North College Street
Fayetteville, AR 72703
Re: Pacificor, LLC (“Pacificor”)
Dear Messrs. Parkinson and Shefte and Ms. Patton:
We are counsel for Pacificor, LLC (“Pacificor”). We believe you are aware that pursuant to an order entered on March 3, 2010 in In re: T Asset Acquistion Company, LLC, et. al, United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Los Angeles Division, Case No. 2009-31853-ER, Pacificor acquired assets relating to the Terminator Motion Picture Franchise, including, but not limited to, rights to sequels, remakes, all mechanizing and other derivative rights related to sequels and remakes, and other assets, collectively defined as the “Granted Terminator Assets” in said order.
We recently became aware through various online media reports that Hannover House, purportedly a division of Target Development Group, Inc. (“TDGI”), entered into a purported feature film development venture with a Vancouver based entity, Red Bear Entertainment, for “Teminator 3000” an animated feature film based upon the characters introduced in the original Terminator movie.
This knowledge came as a surprise to Pacificor. It did not license or authorize any such development or film. Indeed, it has not been contacted by Hannover House, TDGI, Red Bear Entertainment or anyone else seeking such a license or approval.
While some of the reports we have seen mention that Pacificor “retains approval and licencing authority…” over the proposed project, a reasonable inference drawn from the reports is that such approval has been obtained. Otherwise, why would the “development deal” have been entered into in the first place and why would the reports mention a proposed January 2011 start date for production?
Please be advised that the suggestion that Hannover House, TDGI, Red Bear Entertainment or any other entity is, has, or will be developing, producing, marketing or in any other way utilizing characters and situations which are part of the Terminator Franchise infringes upon and interferes with Pacificor’s ownership rights. To illustrate, the suggestion that Hannover House, TDGI and/or Red Bear Entertainment will be developing a feature film, animated or not, directly interferes with Pacificor’s right to capitalize on its assets in the manner it deems in its best interests. This public pronouncement could impact Pacificor’s ability to attract and negotiate with development partners of its own choosing.
The purported development deal, among other things, violates the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et. seq., constitutes trademark interference and can result in civil penalties. Accordingly, we demand that Hannover House, TDGI and/or Red Bear Entertainment: (1) immediately issue a retraction clearly indicating that Pacificor had no knowledge of the development venture and that its approval has not been sought nor obtained; (2) stop issuing press releases mentioning the purported development venture and the Terminator Franchise unless and until approval for such a venture is obtained from Pacificor; (3) notify this office in writing not later than five days after your receipt of this letter of your compliance with these demands.
This letter does not purport to be a complete statement of the facts of the law and is without prejudice to any of Pacificor’s legal and equitable rights.
Very truly yours,
HILL & TRAGER, LLP
Timothy J. Trager
cc: Pacificor, LLC
After receiving the cease and desist letter, Eric Parkinson insisted there was still hope for the Terminator 3000 animated 3D film, but this time confirmed he couldn’t do it without the current Terminator rights holder, Pacificor.
“We’ve arranged a meeting, we’ll show them our money and if the rational brain prevails, they’ll take the deal. If not, I can’t do it without them. You’ll have a followup next week that we are either holding hands, or not doing the film. At least we now have our meeting. I hope they will can think outside the box, because if we can make a movie that delivers a $20 million to $30 million rights payment, that is an income source they didn’t realize was possible. If not, it was a good idea anyway.”
And then things went dark. The flow of information on “Terminator 3000” seemingly stopped, leaving Terminator fans wondering what ever happened, and will they ever see this proposed 3D animated film become a reality?
It wasn’t until a year and a half later that the fate of “Terminator 3000” was announced in a somber press release on January 24th, 2012 by Hannover House. In that release, CEO Eric Parkinson included the following statement:
“Contrary to internet reports, Hannover House does not own or control any of the motion picture rights to the Terminator franchise, and the company does not have the ability to proceed with a proposed animated feature film without the expressed approval or license from the rights holders.”
And that was that. Whatever anticipated rights Hanover House had over Terminator animation seemingly vanished, and the Terminator fans hopes of seeing the 3D animated feature film “Terminator 3000” went with it.
We’ll be back.