McG working with Halcyon on project

The Terminator will be back.

Halcyon Co. toppers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek are developing a fifth instalment of the man-vs.-machine franchise.

Helmer McG, who directed the upcoming fourth pic, “Terminator Salvation,” is working with the Halcyon duo on the latest project.

Announcement was among the news that came out of the Dubai Intl. Film Festival, which bowed Dec. 11 and runs through Thursday.

No decision has been made as to where to film the next “Terminator,” although the Middle East was mentioned as a locale.

When Anderson and Kubicek acquired the rights the lucrative “Terminator” franchise last year from previous owners C2, the former ad exec and banker envisaged the re-booted series as a trilogy. Christian Bale has signed on in the role of John Connor for all three roles. Newest pic is tentatively skedded for a 2011 release.

The duo had originally planned to wait until the release of “Terminator Salvation” next summer before deciding on whether to proceed with the next chapter, but the positive studio, fan and media reaction to footage from the current pic has encouraged them to move forward ahead of schedule.

“We feel the time is now to start shaping the next part of this,” Kubicek said.

Warner Bros. is handling the domestic release of “Terminator Salvation” with Sony handling the majority of the rest of the world, with the exception of the Middle East where the film is being handled by Dubai-based Gulf Film.

No decision has been made yet on whether the fifth “Terminator” will be once again split by Warner Bros. and Sony.

“Terminator” vidgame, which has been developed inhouse through the Halcyon Games division, will be released day-and-date with the live action pic.

The Halcyon duo is also prepping an English-language remake of Danish helmer Susanne Bier’s Oscar-nominated “After the Wedding.” Brit helmer Michael Caton-Jones will start lensing in early 2009. Pic, about a Western social worker in a Mumbai slum who receives a mysterious multi-million-dollar donation from a Western businessman, has yet to be cast.

“It’s on the opposite side of the spectrum from ‘Terminator” in that it’s a much smaller drama,” Anderson said. “It’s a total departure for us. There’s not that many screens for foreign-language films so we thought this was an opportunity for more people to see the film.”

Halcyon head of production Joel Michaels is overseeing “After the Wedding.”

Keen to assuage question marks over its commitment to the local film industry, the Dubai government announced at the fest that it would invest in its first-ever feature project. Government investment arm the Dubai Intl. Financial Center is coughing up the majority of coin for Emirati helmer Ali Mustafa’s debut feature “City of Life,” which refers to the English translation of Dubai’s oldest nickname.

Project, which has a budget in the mid-seven-figure range, is a multilingual, character-driven drama based in the bustling emirate. Filmworks CEO Tim Smythe is producing the project, which will begin lensing on location in Dubai next February.

Alexandra Maria Lara (“Control”), Arab-American standup Ahmed Ahmed and rising Bollywood star Sonu Sood (“Singh Is Kinng”) have boarded the cosmopolitan project.

“We need to be aware that as a first film this is going to serve as a benchmark for,” Smythe said. “It’s an important project for Dubai and developing an industry here. We’re going to be 85% local crew, which is an amazing thing to do. This is a huge step up for us.”

Project is the most ambitious Emirati film to be fully funded with local coin. Mustafa, who won the Emirati Filmmaker prize at the Dubai fest last year, has long been seen as the Emirati helmer most likely to break out internationally.

Mustafa and Smythe are hoping to world preem the pic at next year’s Dubai fest.

Elsewhere, fest’s inaugural film market — an innovative fully digital film library utilizing Hewlett-Packard technology — has proved easy-to-use and popular with both buyers and sellers. Mart runs concurrently with the fest.

Co-production market the Dubai Film Connection launched Saturday, with 18 projects vying for three prizes of $25,000 in development coin each. It ends Wednesday.

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