Hasta la vista, sacks of cash. At press time, several studios were vying for rights to ”Terminator 3,” the follow-up to James Cameron’s 1991 ”Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (which grossed $517 million worldwide). The price: reportedly upwards of $165 million, including unspecified millions to pay off debts of defunct ”Terminator” studio Carolco, $5 million for director Jonathan Mostow, and — get this — $30 million for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
”It’s an aberration,” says former Fox head Bill Mechanic of the projected cost of ”T3,” which aims to start production next spring. But does the once-mighty ”T”-man still warrant that kind of dough? ”’Terminator’ is one of the great franchises,” Mechanic says, ”and I can’t imagine making it without Arnold.” Just wait until the Edward Furlong contract negotiations get going.