Back in 2003, when his smart, controversial "Better Luck Tomorrow" was released to rave reviews, director Justin Lin would have considered the opportunity to direct a "Terminator" film the chance of a lifetime. Now? Now he's too busy to do it even when they're begging him to.
Deadline reported last night that Lin, who had been lined up to direct another "Terminator" reboot -- this time with Arnold Schwarzenegger back as the T-800 -- has told producers that he can't do the project because he's wrapped up with another "Fast and the Furious" sequel. (This will be the sixth.) If it seems strange to live in a world in which the "Fast and the Furious" franchise is worth more to a director than a "Terminator" film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, well, "Fast Five" made $600 million worldwide. "Terminator: Salvation," despite being far more expensive, made just more than half that.
And the thing is: We bet the "Terminator" folks wait on him. Lin has captained the "Fast" franchise out of the "Tokyo Drift" doldrums into the massive business it is now, and there are a couple action sequences in "Fast Five" that put the sludge CGI in "Terminator: Salvation" to shame. The "Terminator" film was supposed to come out Christmas 2012, but if it waits for Lin, it'll be later than that. We bet it ends up later than that.
By the way, while searching for Roger Ebert's initial rave about "Better Luck Tomorrow," we came across this great video of Ebert taking down a heckler at a screening of "Better Luck Tomorrow."
Seriously, people: Buy the book.