Harlan Ellison complained of plagiarism over his stories “Demon with a Glass Hand” and “Soldier” from The Outer Limits being inspiration for James Cameron’s The Terminator. I’ve been playing a lot of the arcade game Robotron: 2084 and it also has a storyline that is very similar to The Terminator. See below:
Ellison might have been one of the first to come up with the idea for robots from the future terminating humans, but there have been multiple projects using this idea. Robotron: 2084 was created by the development studio Vid Kidz for Williams in 1982. Programmed by Eugene Jarvis and Larry Demar. Jarvis also programmed the classic arcade game Defender.
Considering The Terminator didn’t come out until two years later in 1984, the timing of the videogame story seems more likely to have been inspiration for James Cameron than Ellison’s stories on The Outer Limits (“Soldier” first aired September 19, 1964 and “Demon with a Glass Hand” first aired October 17, 1964). Justwatch.com reports as of this writing that seasons 1 and 2 of The Outer Limits original TV series can be watched with ads on the Roku channel. So you could check out these episodes, play a round of Robotron: 2084 on The Internet Archive and compare the storylines to The Terminator.
It should be noted that James Cameron adamantly denies any wrongdoing, claiming it was a “bum deal” according to a quote cited in the Wikipedia entry for Ellison’s story “Demon with a Glass Hand.”
Until recently, I never noticed the storyline for the videogame Robotron: 2084 being similar to what Skynet did in The Terminator. Also, it’s the Kyle Reese like soldier with “super powers” that can battle the robots in the videogame. As for the two Outer Limits episodes, I’ve seen both and do see similarities in those storylines to The Terminator, but it’s possible they are coincidental, not because Cameron enjoyed those episodes and heavily borrowed from them.
Legally it seems that there was agreements with Ellison and he is mentioned in the closing credits of The Terminator. Nothing about Robotron: 2084 is mentioned, but it was enough to make me think with the timing that one might have been more inspirational than the other, simply due to the timing. Not accusing Cameron of anything, of course, but it’s funny that a game I played frequently in the arcades all those years ago and a movie I enjoyed share a similar storyline, even if it is coincidental.
(The word “coin” is included in that word, as in “INSERT COIN” to the videogame — another curious sidenote).
Here we are talking Avatar sequels again. This time, James Cameron is teasing three nearly completed scenes with visual effects — but to the crew only. Sounds like they were stoked.
Now, Landau, who is producing all the sequels with Cameron, has posted an update on Instagram, saying that Cameron has screened three scenes from the upcoming sequel, all with close-to-completed visual effects. Landau says that the scenes re-energized the crew, and made them even keener to get back to working on the movie.
With it closing in on six months since last seeing any movie in the theater (an underwhelming The Hunt ⭐️⭐️), I’d almost go watch paint dry on a giant white wall in comfy recliner seats with movie theater popcorn.
Sure, I’m joking. Not.
Is it possible to be over-marketed and teased too much for a movie?
On a more serious note for Avatar 2. Do you care? Will you care in December 2022 when it’s finally released?
My interest and excitement won’t return for this movie until we see a trailer with some amazing visual effects. Even then, there’s only so much teasing a moviegoer fan can take for a movie too far in the future. Especially with the current uncertainty that looms everywhere. You?
Please excuse the FIRST LOOK Friday interruption, as there are many, many film delays to comment on. It’s becoming hard to keep up with them all, but by the end of this post we’ll both be more in the know.
First up, James Cameron’s billion dollar budget Avatar sequels may have started refilming not too long ago but Disney is delaying the December 2021 release by a full year. It doesn’t stop there, that pushes back the other sequels, of course.
Of course, with Avatar 2 being pushed to December 16, 2022, that means the other three Avatar sequels have been delayed as well. As it stands now, Avatar 3 is now scheduled for December 20, 2024, followed by Avatar 4 on December 18, 2026 and Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028. Assuming those dates stick (and given this franchise’s track record and these crazy times we live in, that’s far from guaranteed), that means by the time the Avatar film series concludes, it’ll have been nearly 20 years since the first movie came out and took the world by storm.
Who didn’t expect this delay? These Avatar sequels have been cursed for delays since starting. I’m about 30% certain we’ll even see this in 2022, but we’ll save that snark for another day. What’s even worse, perhaps, is contemplating how even the wizard James Cameron, master of technology in filmmaking can make back this mammoth budget. I suppose if anybody can do it, he has the track record. Just seems on the heels of a complete abortive Terminator sequel failure and the pandemic fallout, prospects are unfavorable.
Mulan delayed, but not “indefinitely”
Moving to the next obvious delay from Disney is Mulan. They’ve pulled a Tenet and aren’t giving us any sort of future date yet. “Indefinitely” is what other publications are labeling it, but that’s misleading. They aren’t indefinitely delaying Mulan, they just haven’t chosen a future date — yet. Am curious if that date will be close to Tenet. The two films have enjoyed a lot of promotional press for being indicators of the healthy state of cinemas during the pandemic.
Don’t want to speculate too much here, but it seems reasonable to believe that whatever films open first are likely not to perform as well as they would have before the pandemic — but there are so many details involved: when the theaters are reopened, how many theaters are opened both domestically and internationally, safety protocols and more. I do believe there is a strong desire for people to see movies in theaters again someday, but safety first is on everybody’s minds as long as there isn’t a vaccine for the The Thing That Should Not Be Named.
Bottom line is Summer 2020 for movies in America is dead, gone and soon to be cremated or buried. We now must look to the Fall and beyond for cinematic salvation.
Bill & Ted Face The Music – day and date release on September 1
Bill & Ted: Face The Music, which I have scheduled for a FIRST LOOK today has been bumped to September 1, 2020 simultaneously on both VOD and whatever theaters are open. We won’t hear a peep from NATO / AMC on this one, as they have too many fires raging on their lawn to squabble over theatrical windows any more.
Top Gun: Maverick re-holsters release until July 2, 2021
We’ll have to contain our excitement for Maverick’s return. Paramount has grounded Tom Cruise’s sequel until July 2, 2021. Paramount’s horror sequel, A Quiet Place: Part II, will not be released until 2021 either. That is covered below.
What other announced film delays?
Am certain to be missing some, but here’s what we’ve learned as of this writing, bullet-style in chronological delayed release date:
Unhinged – delayed from July 31, making this the lone new title that would have been released in theaters in July, now that only happens in the Twilight Zone. A third delay with no specific August date, but studio Solstice wants to release next month. They are in a holding pattern to see what Tenet and Mulan are doing.
The Empty Man – delayed from August 7 to December 4, 2020
SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run – delayed multiple times, most recently from August 7 until January 2021 with day and date release (VOD + Theaters)
A Quiet Place Part II – delayed multiple times, most recently from September 4, 2020 to April 23, 2021
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – delayed from September 11, 2020 to June 4, 2021
2 Hearts – delayed from September 11 to October 16
Halloween Kills – delayed from October 16, 2020 to October 15, 2021
The New Mutants – psych! This one has not been delayed again — yet — and is still planned for August 28. They reiterated this at the Comic-Con@Home panel. It’s still almost a month away, so this could change …
For a complete list of movies coming to theaters in 2020, visit: FIRST LOOK: 75+ Movies Coming To Theaters In 2020 — the title of that post will probably be wrong at the rate we’re going, but that page continues to be updated regularly. I’ve started a 2021 coming soon to theaters page, but not ready to share that quite yet, because of the ever-changing dates and moves.
What’s left coming to theaters in August 2020?
Seven movies as of this writing. I’ll have that posted at some point in the next week, but again, still waiting to see further movie delays. September only shows *3* movies coming to theaters at the moment. Based on everything that’s not happening, more delays should be expected.
Brobible Senior Writer Eric Ital wrote a hit piece mocking Avatar for having less than 133,000 Twitter followers and pointing out that Twitter has been in existence over 11 years.
Readers following Ital’s screed, which makes zero sense considering metrics for movie success, should probably skip over the author’s own Twitter account — but I won’t. Stay with me.
It is a curious criticism of the movie, Avatar, and its four sequels in production (all one billion dollars worth!?!). Will give it that.
We’re talking about the second-highest grossing movie of all-time, a movie whose sequel James Cameron thinks will outgross Avengers: Endgame and one of their primary social media accounts has fewer followers than BroBible! When the first movie came out, Twitter didn’t even exist — now, here we are 11 years later, and not only has a sequel yet to be released, but their Twitter feed has the following of an A24-produced indie drama (no disrespect to A24, of course, those are my fucking dudes). They don’t even own the @Avatar handle! An absolute clown show.
Ital’s self-professed “one man crusade” against the movie for Twitter followers leaves me wondering how or why this would be any sort of fair metric evaluating the potential success or failure of the movie itself? Seriously, who judges movies this way?
Why would anybody judge a movie this way?
If a studio simply throws up a Twitter account and isn’t very active, they aren’t going to have that many Twitter followers. That’s reality in the world of social media follows.
The article’s author never explains how or why this sort of metric should matter in any logical way, whatsoever, because, well, it doesn’t. It’s the type of clickbait bullshit angst article that are vomited daily upon the internet. Our eyes are the toilet bowl of 2020, no thank you.
Let me try and help out Mr. Ital. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and just fill in whatever you want, followers are not a measurement of how good or bad movies have been or will ever be. At best it might represent one measurement of how good or bad marketing on a given social media service performed.
Does anybody seriously think James Cameron gives two craps about Twitter followers for Avatar? Hint: see the first sentence of his recent tweet:
Just in case you need more evidence. James Cameron’s official Twitter has over 718,000 followers, joined in January 2011 and made a mere 170 tweets.
Clearly, Cameron isn’t a Luddite. He believes in Twitter, but he doesn’t use it very often. He cared enough to sign up for it relatively early in the game because he’s an intelligent man.
Now, let’s compare to the article author’s Twitter profile, because these kinds of comparisons make just about as much sense (not!).
Given, the author isn’t one of the most famous and successful directors of all time, he’s just some random “senior writer” at an internet publication, but hey, he’s really into Twitter. He knows all about Twitter based on his flame-ridden piece. He knows how to judge Twitter as the all-knowing, all-seeing prophecy behind whether or not something is going to be good or bad based on Twitter followers.
So, he must have at least a few thousand Twitter followers himself, yes? He must have been on Twitter for years, yes? Must be heavily active and marketing his own articles (despite his own admitting that in many articles he doesn’t give a shit how many people have read them), since all this would be a justification for his business success, yes?
No, no, no.
Look, I don’t know you, Mr. Ital. You might be a great writer and 100% right that Avatar 2 and the other sequels, if we ever get to see them, will not be as successful as Cameron and company hope.
In fact, I’m a bit skeptical of Avatar sequel success myself (see: Even if Avatar 2 sucks, the Mercedes Vision Avtr looks amazing). However, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever — not in 11+ years of Twitter existence — measure any movie’s sales potential based on social media followers. Not even with snark or lopsided humor. That’s any social media service you want to pick out and use … Twitter, Facebook, Insta, whatever.
Just for transparency, here is my Twitter account:
Now, by the article author’s logic, guess I’m godawful at Twitter, too, with my paltry 4009 followers since joining in July 2010. This isn’t my first Twitter account, either, my tech account joined even sooner (I was in on the beta of Twitter, actually, but that’s a story for another blog and another day), but this account is the one I use most these days. You can see that I do try to follow back most of those who follow me. I figure that’s the courteous thing to do.
Nevermind that I’ve made piss-all effort to grow followers or promote followers in 10 years and have made only about 700 more tweets than the Brobible article’s author, but in 9 years more time! Perhaps, Mr. Ital will have many more followers than me when he has used Twitter for 10 years, and he most certainly will have more tweets, but who cares? What does any of this mean?
Nothing. Gas tank bone dry. Septic system just pumped. Lake drained.
My point is simple, I’m OK with bashing movies for sucking if someone feels that way after seeing it. I’m even OK with bashing a movie’s marketing and promotion (is that what’s happening here?). Go ahead and bash the idea of a sequel, although a sequel for the second biggest box office success of all time does make financial and logical sense. An audience is there. It’s a big world with lots of movie idea possibilities.
But I can’t get on bashing a movie based on the number of social media followers. Unless it’s all about clickbaiting, of course. And now I’m guilty of not only taking the bait but promoting it, so double dog shame on me.
In defense of Mr. Ital, he does admit he hates Avatar. So, using hate for motivation maybe number of Twitter followers for the Avatar account does make sense. And it gave me something humorous to riff off this morning, I guess, so thank you.
I digress. This isn’t about the article author or me. Let’s focus on the movie itself. Will it be successful? Who fricking knows?! Logic would suggest that if James Cameron directs a movie about someone taking a dump in an outhouse, it will sell tickets. He’d probably shoot that movie from inside the hole with some kind of smell-o-vision tech in hyper-3D and millions would flock to watch it.
We haven’t seen Avatar 2 yet. We won’t get to until December 2021. If it is delayed due to the pandemic, that’s not the fault of James Cameron and company, it’s what many movies are doing these days.
The main point of this post isn’t to bash the author for hating on a movie and its associated franchise — hate away, I support any critic’s right to love or hate a film — it’s to challenge the concept of social media followers having really anything to do with a movie’s business potential. If the movie is good, there will be people with millions of Twitter followers promoting it — for free. Movies don’t absolutely need Twitter accounts or heavy tweet marketing to be successful. Yes, it helps getting social media buzz around a movie, which I think is the fundamental premise behind the criticism in the linked article.
As always, I welcome contrarian viewpoints, just please keep it civil in the comments area. I don’t want to have to call upon my small number (not my opinion, by the way, I’m grateful to have 1 interested follower) of 4,009 followers on Twitter to rough anybody up 😉
Before getting to the headline, it’s fairly well known that Rod Serling wrote the original Planet of The Apes (1968) screenplay. It was reworked by Michael Wilson, and he was given a co-writing credit.
I was delighted to discover a graphic novel called Planet of The Apes: Visionaries on Google Play Books. There is a free sample available to check out here. The graphic novel by Dana Gould seeks to tell Rod Serling’s original screenplay of the adaptation of the novel by Pierre Boulle. I’m reading it now.
Enter James Cameron.
Around the time Cameron was working on Titanic, he was courted by 20th Century Fox to pen a script for the reboot of Planet of The Apes and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have starred in it.
(Yes, Arnold would have been in an Apes movie, too!)
The leak suggests that the film would have opened much like the original, with vintage footage depicting Taylor’s spacecraft crashing on Earth two thousand years in the future. However, the film would then diverge, taking place thirty years later and featuring a new group of astronauts from the 90s landing in the ape-dominated future.
One of the more exciting parts of Cameron’s script was that it would show Taylor alive and well after the events of the original 1968 film. I realize he was alive at the start of the second film. And Cameron’s plan was to have Charlton Heston’s replay his iconic role (about 30 years later, so the age would have worked) and he would have a meaty role in Cameron’s reboot.
That could have been a lot better than what we ultimately received in Tim Burton’s Planet of The Apes reboot. Then again, maybe it would have leaned toward the disaster reboot/sequel that was Terminator: Dark Fate. Cameron’s record behind the director’s chair is better than when he produces or writes screenplays only.
We’ll never know. Heston is gone, Arnold is too old and Cameron has long since moved on.
The most recent reboot of Apes movies were good, so maybe they’ll hold off awhile before somebody gets in that saddle again (wishful thinking, I know).
Would you have wanted to see James Cameron’s Planet of the Apes reboot?
It is interesting to revisit the movies that could have been. I know, there have been many, many films that shoulda, coulda, woulda been, but in the case of reboots, this is one that I actually would have been interested in. Moreso, if Cameron had stepped up and directed it as well.
What do you think of this proposed film? Yay or nay?
Move over, Marty, this car blows the Delorean out of Avatar’s seaworld water.
Much like the hugely profitable sci-fi movie it’s inspired by, the Vision Avtr uses expensive bleeding-edge technology to convey a message of reconnecting with nature. The car features round organic shapes, pulsating neon lights, and “bionic flap” scales on the back. The aesthetic is on the razor’s edge of hypnotic and gross, again like Avatar. You don’t even use a steering wheel. The controls are projected onto your body. Very spiritual. Very Avatar.
Saw this come out of CES 2020 yesterday and see the Twitter feed on fire about Avatar. Will get to that in a minute but first the techie that still lives inside me must comment on the car. The car!
For me it’s like Fantasy Island’s Tattoo’s excitement with da plane, da plane! Who wouldn’t want to drive around in that super cool car? Sure, it’s pure concept at this point, and I’ll probably never be able to own in this life, but hey, in my dreams. It is super gaudy which isn’t really my style either, but … oh my. I’m more of a get in whatever runs to get from point A to point B guy versus spending more money on cars than houses cost.
This car looks like it might cost more than several houses.
No Steering Wheel Makes Perfect Sense
There is emphasis on having no steering wheel like that matters. Why? The steering wheel should be gone in futuristic cars. I think the logical next step in tech and driving is not requiring us to drive at all.
The technology gets us safely and securely to wherever we’re going. Those who want to drive, need to drive, sure, have some kind of mental Avatar-like hookup to the brain that allows people to take most control of the wheel. Assuming the driver isn’t impaired. I trust technology to be better drivers than human beings, sorry.
I digress. If this car was affordable (not!) and available right now, I’d be at the dealership.
Did Avatar Wait Too Long For The Sequel?
Some twitterers are saying they’ve lost interest because it’s been 10+ years since the last Avatar.
Wrong way to look at movies. Especially sequels.
I’m glad Cameron took his time making the Avatar sequels. Really, really glad. Can more filmmakers work years putting out the most exciting, entertaining movies, please? Let it age and breathe, not crank it out like it’s part of some assembly line. Too many movies are rushed. Heck, there are stories out saying Rise of Skywalker ⭐️⭐️½ was rushed too. If that’s true, and I believe it is, Disney should have baked it longer. Sounds like JJ Abrams wanted more time.
And yes, Cameron was busy diving to the bottom of the ocean setting depth records and not working on Avatar for some of the last 10+ years. Once he put his toes in the sequel water, he’s been going at it full time.
He sacrificed the director’s chair in Terminator: Dark Fate ⭐️⭐️½ — probably to that movie’s detriment — to work on Avatar 2. I don’t know if it’s going to be great or suck or be ho-hum, but it will definitely have some cool tech.
Ang Lee had cool tech in Gemini Man ⭐️⭐️ and we all know how that turned out.
My faith is stronger with Cameron when he’s in the director’s chair. And he has experience and director success history on his side. Think about it, how many bad films has he done as director? (I don’t blame his limited involvement first experience in Piranha 2, btw)
We’ll find out in 2021, assuming no more delays. I like the fact that he’s shooting a trilogy of films at once a la Back To The Future sequels. Those impatient for more Avatar after the sequel, will get their fix much sooner.
Me? I’m happy to wait longer for the movie. Just make the story sing and it’s all good.
Thought it was a bit nod, nod, wink, wink when James Cameron congratulated the Avengers Endgame team for surpassing Avatar for being #1 worldwide in box office gross revenue, and turns out it was:
“I don’t want to sound snarky after I took the high road (by offering congratulations),” he says. “But they beat us by one quarter of a percent. I did the math in my head while driving in this morning. I think accountants call that a rounding error.”
LOL. A “rounding error” — it seems inevitable in the run-up to Avatar 2 hitting theaters in 2021 that Disney will re-release the original Avatar in theaters, allowing it the opportunity to earn enough new box office revenue to retake the #1 crown.
Despite’s Cameron’s impressive record at the box office when directing films, I’m not so sure about Avatar 2 having the same box office juice as Avatar. Cameron’s producer involvement hasn’t been as positive, as we saw in 2019 with his “return” to the Terminator franchise in Terminator: Dark Fate ⭐️⭐️½
One of the things that made Avatar so impressive is how it used 3D. It single-handedly revitalized 3D movies at the theater. The 3D surcharge ticket pricing helped to increase the box office sales.
The 3D in Avatar blew me away.
We have caught a few 3D versions of movies, including Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker and the experience has been overall underwhelming. Most moviegoers figured out that the vast majority of 3D movies were not enhanced enough to justify a few extra dollars in a 3D surcharge.
While there are 10 years differences between the time on the website, but it’s a curious sidenote that Avengers: Endgame has 67,000+ audience reviews at Rotten Tomatoes while Avatar has over 1.38 million. Something tells me in 2029 Avengers: Endgame will not have this many reviews, but we’ll see.
Titanic, another James Cameron directed top film, has over 35 million audience reviews. Not sure if that is RT’s most reviewed film, but it has to be up there.
Bottom line: Cameron is probably closer to right than wrong with his non-snarky comment.
What do you think? Will Avatar 2 become #1 of all time at the box office?
The countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate has started! 10 days until Halloween and 10 days until this movie opens in theaters. Soon, we’ll know whether or not James Cameron’s influence made a difference in what could have been.
One thing I watched recently that has me even more excited was an interview back in 2017 when Dark Fate was being discussed by James Cameron and Tim Miller the director. They both have a good vision for this movie. Whether or not they can execute, I could tell from that discussion that they are passionate about doing this right. Here is that video:
I have been watching classic interviews of prior Terminator films. At the very top of this post, director James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger discuss the original Terminator 1984 making of the movie process.
Kyle Reese played by Michael Biehn was an integral part of the original Terminator movie. He goes back through his memory of working on the film:
James Cameron was flexible with dialogue
One of the most difficult stunts he has ever seen is the opening shot where the stunt guy was 6-7 feet laying sideways and jumped sidewise and landed on the cement nude.
Siskel & Ebert reviewing The Terminator. Have to watch to see which one didn’t like it. His review commentary suggests he didn’t seem to know the movie very well, which I found to be humorous.
See the original Terminator filming locations:
I’m out there looking at other Terminator-related vidoes, getting excited for Dark Fate.
So, this odd story from Matt Damon where he admits that James Cameron offered him 10% of (something for?) the Avatar movie and a starring role in the original Avatar and he turned it down:
“I couldn’t do it — but Cameron said to me in the course of that conversation, ‘Well, you know, I’ve only made six movies.’ I didn’t realize that,” Damon recalled.
The actor continued to explain that in passing on the role offered by Cameron, he missed his “chance to ever work with him.”
Damon never explains in the article why he “couldn’t do it.” What does that mean? He had other obligations? Didn’t think he had the acting chops (impossible)? What was the reason?
It doesn’t sound like Damon regrets his decision, but I remain curious what stopped him from working with Cameron? Damon’s next film is Ford vs. Ferrari and opens November 15, 2019. I’m mildly interested, maybe a 3 out of 10 in anticipation for that film. It did not make our Fall 2019 anticipated films list, but probably should have at least been included.
Meanwhile, Terminator: Dark Fate – PREVIEW -the third in the series with Cameron producing, Linda Hamilton back as Sarah Connor and Arnold returning as a grizzled T-800 hits theaters November 1. Avatar 2 is still two years out, coming in December 2021. Avatar was passed as the biggest ever at the box office by Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. I’m probably one of the few who hasn’t seen Endgame yet. I’m somewhat burned out on the MCU, but one great film could pull me back in again.