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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a 2003 American science fiction action film starring Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken, and Claire Danes. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as a Terminator sent back in time to protect John Connor and his future wife, Kate Brewster, from a more advanced Terminator programmed to kill them. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, the screenplay was written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, which was based on a story they wrote with Tedi Sarafian. It is the third installment in the Terminator series and the first without the involvement of its original creator, James Cameron.

After the success of T2, Cameron and his production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, entered into a multipicture domestic distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. Carolco Pictures, the rightsholder to the Terminator franchise, also began experiencing profit loss and eventually filed for bankruptcy in November 1995, forcing them to put their assets on sale, including the Terminator rights.

Fox and Cameron's relationship was strengthened by Fox's commitment to Titanic, which attracted intense media scrutiny due to its high budget and production delays. To focus on Titanic , Cameron opted out of a Terminator 3, leaving Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar to purchase the rights in 1997.

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