Studio is the leading bidder for franchise

Lionsgate has stepped up as the leading bidder for the rights to the “Terminator” franchise with an offer of $15 million and a 5% cut of future gross receipts.

Bid was disclosed Wednesday in a federal bankruptcy court filing by Halcyon Group, which put the franchise up for sale in September. With Lionsgate as the “stalking horse” bidder, any other company that wants to bid would have to top its offer by at least $500,000. Other bidders would have until Feb. 4 to submit their offers.

The auction for the “Terminator” assets — which include the rights to future “Terminator” pics, TV series, DVDs and merchandise — will be held four days later, on Feb. 8, at the offices of FTI Consulting in Los Angeles.

Filing also disclosed that bids at the auction must be in increments of at least $1 million.

If it’s not the winning bidder, Lionsgate will receive $750,000 as a breakup fee. Filing didn’t disclose whether any other bids have been submitted.

Terminator Salvation,” the fourth film in the franchise, was produced by Halcyon with Warner Bros. and Sony. It carried a production pricetag of about $200 million and took in $371 million worldwide.

Halcyon paid Mario Kassar $30 million for the “Terminator” rights in 2007, then filed for Chapter 11 protection in September as a result of a dispute with hedge fund Pacificor, which financed the purchase. At that point, Halcyon toppers Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek told the bankruptcy court that they valued the “Terminator” franchise above $70 million.

For Lionsgate, winning the “Terminator” auction would give the mini-major another franchise to go along with its “Saw” and Tyler Perry pic series.

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