James Cameron sold the rights to 'Terminator' back in the '80s for $1 - and it's one of his biggest regrets


James Cameron Terminator

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James Cameron with one of his cyborg creations on the set of "The Terminator."

There was a time when James Cameron, who now has both "Titanic" and "Aliens" to his name, was an unknown Canadian director.


"Pirahna Part Two: The Spawning" was the only film credit to his name.

Because he wasn't an established name, nobody trusted him to direct "The Terminator," a crazy time travel story involving robots that he literally dreamed up.

In order to bring his own idea to life, Cameron had to sell the rights to it for an incredibly low amount of money.

Cameron told the Toronto Sun back in 2009, he sold the rights to the original film for $1 to producer Gale Anne Hurd. The stipulation of this agreement was that Cameron would be allowed to direct "The Terminator."


James Cameron Terminator

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Producers thought James Cameron was too experienced to direct a sci-fi blockbuster before the first "Terminator" was made.

"The Terminator" went on to make $78.4 million worldwide on a reported $6.4 million budget and launch a TV series and four sequels. The most recent sequel, "Terminator Genisys," opens on July 1.

Cameron isn't doing too badly right now, but he still deeply regrets this decision.

"I wish I hadn't sold the rights for one dollar," Cameron told the Toronto Sun. "If I had a little time machine and I could only send back something the length of a tweet, it'd be - 'Don't sell.' "

Since the release of "The Terminator" in 1984, the franchise has grossed a total of $1.4 billion worldwide.

arnold schwarzenegger old terminator genisys

Paramount Pictures

"Terminator Genisys" was made to launch a new trilogy to be completed before James Cameron regains the rights in 2019.

Cameron's decision also had major consequences on the future of the franchise. Because Cameron didn't own the rights, they bounced around from company to company over the years. A new trilogy, starting with "Genisys" was launched in a hurry.


However, James Cameron gets the "Terminator" rights back in 2019.

It has been 24 years since "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," but fans could see Cameron's fingerprints on the beloved franchise again very soon.

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