Hollywood: the only city in the world where having lunch at the right Italian cafe could net you millions of dollars. Two fledgling producers named Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek parlayed a tip from a dining partner into a deal for the rights to the Terminator series, resulting in Terminator Salvation and a deal that entitles them to "rake in half of any profits that might come from box-office, DVD and television sales as well as all the proceeds from a new video game and other consumer products," reports the Los Angeles Times. Dreams do come true -- as long as you can talk somebody else into forking over millions of dollars to reward your moxie, good timing, and luck.
It's a fascinating story, and well worth reading for anyone interested in the business side of Hollywood -- and for anyone who wonders, "What's a producer?" In this case, newbie producers Anderson and Kubicek (who only had one credit prior to Salvation on a film that was never released) thought they had a deal in place for millions of dollars in financing from Dubai, and so made a $25 million offer on the rights to Terminator, which were available from independent producers Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar. When the Dubai financing fell through, the duo got another "lucky break" in the form of a commitment from a Santa Barbara hedge fund. The producers then secured funding and distribution from Warner Bros. and Sony, decided on McG as director and Christian Bale as star, and the rest is history. The producing duo also controls sequel rights and reportedly have McG signed up for one sequel and Bale for two more.
The Times also details various lawsuits that have followed in their wake, so it's not all roses and champagne for Anderson and Kubicek. Still, nice work if you can get it.