TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES Director Reflects On His Contribution To The Iconic Franchise (Exclusive)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines director Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown) reflects on his contribution to the franchise, sharing his thoughts on how the franchise has once again found itself stuck in limbo.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003, and was the first movie set in that world since James Cameron's 1991 sequel. Expectations were high, and the movie grossed a solid $433.4 million at the worldwide box office (on a reported budget of around $187.3 million). 

FIlmmaker Jonathan Mostow was at the helm of the threequel, and we recently caught up with the writer and director to discuss the 4K re-release of Breakdown as part of the Paramount Presents line on September 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment. That will include a never-before-seen opening sequence, commentary from Mostow and star Kurt Russell, and much more. 

While we had Jonathan on the phone, we asked how he looks back on his contribution to the Terminator movies and what's become of the franchise as it once again finds itself in limbo.

"I very much enjoyed making Terminator 3," he recalled. "What’s so interesting about that franchise is that it has historically always been made by independent film companies and distributed by studios. Many of the companies that have made Terminator films subsequently, not because of Terminator as all those films were generally successful, went bankrupt. The rights would end up in bankruptcy court and be sold to someone else, so the challenge creatively - it’s understandable why it’s taken so long between each of the films and why sometimes the property has fallen into limbo due to business and legal reasons - is that Terminator 2 was such a groundbreaking, seminal film."


"It was the first time audiences had truly seen digital effects and rendered in a way that left their jaws on the floor. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. You can only really dazzle people like that once. It was very hard, whether it be Terminator or any other film for that matter, to come up with the visual effects that could equal the dazzling spectacle of Terminator 2. When I made mine, I made it as a fan of the first two films trying to make the film I would have wanted to see."

"It’s been interesting to see subsequently different filmmakers, different producers, and even different casts coming along and reincarnating the film and extending the franchise," the filmmaker concluded. "I haven't really been involved with the subsequent films. I was involved in developing the screenplay for Terminator 4, but elected to do something else and directed a different film instead. I have sat back like the rest of the world and just watched the franchise continue."

It's fascinating to get this insight from Mostow, and it's easy to forget that, for many fans, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was their first exposure to this world on the big screen. If you've not revisited it in recent years, there's a fair bit to love, especially compared to subsequent reboots. 

As for Breakdown, here's a sneak peek at what you can expect from tomorrow's 4K re-release. We'll have much more to share with you from Jonathan on the thriller in our full interview soon. 


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