Why does the original Robocop trailer have the Terminator theme music?

Wikipedia and other sites confirm it, but do not explain why.

  • The new link (the old one was no longer available) has this comment: "This is the original trailer for RoboCop, and yes that is the Terminator theme. Orion also distributed Terminator, and the RoboCop music was not finished when the trailer went out, so they used the Terminator Theme." Jun 3, 2015 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


Paul Verhoeven was very influenced by The Terminator and wanted to capture that same feeling when he directed Robocop. I'm guessing that he used the score because he wanted to attract the same kind of audience that liked the Terminator to Robocop.

From an interview Paul Verhoeven gave in 2002

The Terminator surprised me, for example – I was taken aback by that. It was like ‘wow – that’s somebody really who really thought about something! And really did it, with cheap means, relatively, and made something very original. If anything influenced me when I came to the United States, it was that movie, because Robocop is not derived from Terminator, but I studied it very very well before I embarked on Robocop, because Robocop was of course still very outside my Dutch genre. I didn’t know much about that kind of film-making.

So I think The Terminator was a very good education for me – from a philosophical point of view it’s an interesting, audacious statement. Yes, it’s science-fiction, but not completely.

Both films were distributed by Orion films. So that suggests he had easy / cheap access to the score from Terminator. So watching the trailer, and hearing The Terminator theme music could subtly suggest to his target audience "hey, this is a film that will excite you the way the Terminator did."


Movie trailers often contain music from other movies for two reasons. They either want to evoke a comparison or subtle memory in you as you watch the trailer to strengthen its impact on you, or because the score to a film is usually one of the last things completed as the composer needs scenes already edited to match the mood and pacing of the film. Also, sometimes non-film (classical or popular) music is used. In the 90's it seemed like every other movie used Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" as the music for the trailer.

  • 2
    Particularly with early trailers/teasers, it's almost unheard of to not be using music from another movie or some other existing piece these days.
    – phantom42
    Sep 28, 2013 at 12:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.