Movie Article

Cash Flow

What ''T2'' really cost -- How the $90 million for ''Judgment Day'' broke down

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is reported to have cost Carolco Pictures over $90 million to produce — almost 15 times more than the original — giving it what is apparently the largest budget in Hollywood history. Though Carolco is mum on the specifics, here's how sources believe the T2 price tag breaks down:

· $12-15 million for Schwarzenegger's salary (paid largely in the form of a Gulfstream G-III jet)
· $5-6 million to James Cameron for directing and cowriting
· $10 million for the rights to the sequel: $5 million to Hemdale Film Corp., and $5 million to Gale Ann Hurd, producer and cowriter of the original
· $10 million for interest on financing
· $51 million for production costs and special effects
· $6 million for miscellaneous expenses

Those huge sums, surprisingly, are already largely covered. T2 earned most of its money back before it hit the multiplexes: Worldwide theatrical rights brought in $65 million, video rights $10 million, TV rights $7 million. In fact, compared with previous budget-busters, T2 may be a bargain. Cleopatra, for instance, cost $44 million in 1963 — about 18.5 times the average picture's price tag at the time. T2 cost only about 3.5 times the current average of $25 million. If it earns the expected $120 million plus in the U.S., Carolco may be the envy of the industry. — Donald Chase, Benjamin Svetkey

Originally posted Jul 12, 1991 Published in issue #74 Jul 12, 1991 Order article reprints
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