Schwarzenegger's Sabotage sinks at US box office

News Simon Brew 31 Mar 2014 - 06:51

Arnold Schwarzenegger's new film opens to his lowest numbers in three decades. Are Arnie's leading man days over?

We think we can fairly safely say now that Arnold Schwarzenegger's days as a leading man capable of opening a movie are long gone. Outside of the Terminator franchise (and other assorted film series), finding a studio chief willing to write a big cheque for one of his movies is about to get much, much trickier.

That's because his third project since he threw himself fully back into movies, Sabotage, sank heavily at the US box office over the weekend. Its opening weekend total of $5.3m was a drop from the hugely disappointing numbers for his big comeback movie, The Last Stand. The Last Stand, which we really quite liked, opened with $6.3m. Since then, Escape Plan snared a $9.9m opening weekend, but that's been as good as it got.

Ordinarily, we wouldn't report on box office like this, but it feels like this is confirmation that Arnie's audience simply doesn't want to pay to watch his films at the movies any more. Had either of his three most recent projects opened in the 1990s, it's not hard to conceive of substantially higher box office numbers. But whilst Schwarzenegger went away for nearly a decade to follow his political ambitions, his audience went away too. The vast majority have clearly not returned.

Sabotage arrives in the UK on May 7th. By then, Schwarzenegger will be making Terminator: Genesis, which should at least lead to box office gold. He'll also be seen in this summer's The Expendables 3.

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The trouble with Arnie is not that he no longer has charisma or that anyone wants to pay moolah to see him, it's just ever since the utter trainwreck of 'Batman and Robin' in 1997, Ahnold has chosen poorly his projects... instead of mediocre fare like 'End of Days', 'The 6th Day', 'Collateral Damage', or his last three films, where is 'Crusade' directed by Paul Verhoeven, 'With Wings as Eagles' directed by Milos Foreman, or 'King Conan: Crown of Iron' written and directed by John Milius?

And the Terminator story ended good and proper with 'T2' in 1991, if you're going to return to that world, it should only have been done with Cameron at the helm... no JC, no T3/4/5/etc, period.

I think you'll find that Terminator is still going, because apparently as Arnie has stated, Terminator skin continues to age, may be not as fast as normal humans, but it does age... so that's why they can make a 5th Terminator film.

Ah who am I kidding! It ended with T2!

He still has that same charisma and screen presence. Which I thought was absent in The Last Stand, but he was back to his best in Escape Plan! He's got back into amazing shape too.

Nah, it ended with the Sarah Conner Chronicles. Though if anyone wants to change their mind about that, I won't complain.

...or it could be that Arnie fans are of an age where they have a decent home cinema and would rather watch him with some friends and a six pack.

The home DVD/Blue/Download sales would confirm or deny this.

^^ This :)

it's not Arnie's fault, it's the people he's hired to make his new films, that last one looked terrible and this one looks terrible. Arnie should do a cool indie project

although that's his fault though I guess

agreed, well put

Personally I like Arnie and can't wait to see him as the 'Grampinator' "I need your clothes, your sensible shoes and your zimmerframe

Due to the nature of the character, stories, type of less physical more thoughtful action scenes done and that the TV show showed the various stages of his life personally I would be willing to watch a 70 year old Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford is currently 71) but ironically a younger Arnie (66) and Sly Stallone (67) with Rambo, Rocky and Terminator less so.

David Ayer is FAR from a bad director (& writer). Same with Kim Jee-woon, are you nuts? Sure, they're not the John McTiernan or James Cameron of yesteryear, but in the very least, those of his are really, really interesting picks for helming his movies. And BTW, SABOTAGE is pretty great. You should give it a chance when you can... depending on what you expect from it, of course, because it isn't simply a dumb TAKEN-style action flick, but something more layered and adult.

Also, not sure about what you mean with a cool indie project. Something like THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT or THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL? Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger? Either way, it looks like you might get your wish since his next flick is MAGGIE where he plays the father of a zombie-bitten girl... though, on the other hand, the BO failure of his most recent output means you won't be able to see that one so easily, right?

I really enjoyed The Last Stand and I am looking forward to Sabotage. I would love to see Crusade finally made and King Conan... but I think my dream project would have Jason Statham star in a proper Predator 3 film as a full on Cockney SAS member on a special mission somewhere in the middle east whose mission goes pear shaped due to a Predator turning up in the first act. After escaping/being rescued Stath looks for answers and finds him teaming up with Arnie's Dutch Schaefer who is fully bearded and living off the grid to avoid the Government wiping him out. And maybe with a bit of salvaged Predator tech they track down the Predator ship or ships and take the fight to them.

Leaving out Terminator, Predator, and Conan, which Arnold movies should he make a follow-up to? Perhaps True Lies? Kindergarten Cop?

Last Action Hero

I really enjoyed The Last Stand and Escape Plan, it's Arnie!!! I'd rather watch any of his old mediocre films than a lot of the too serious, gorgeous actor/actress, no charisma pap that gets shown these days!! I don't care if Sabotage opened badly, I'm going to see it because, as I said at the's Arnie.

YES. I'll tell you why. It can be about about a fat nerd who's gone successful 2.3 family who, because of his wife, is about to put his copy of the Last Action Hero on eBay. She's not mean or anything, she just wants him to bury that last piece of his dreams (or memories) and grow up. Then Arnold jumps out of the iPhone, very tiny, and dude says "man you've lost some mass since I last saw-" and Arnold snaps to full size and says "look who's talking. GET DOOOWN!" Explosions! Gators! Bomb squads! 8 ball contact lens! Pretty sure the gators are from Eraser but who cares! That's the beauty! This is an amalgam of Arnold flicks! Wise guys! Terrorists! Barbarians! T1Predators! New one liners! "I told you I'd shoot", "Rambo? Who's that?", "When's Bingo?" This film is not yet rated

And the big bad? Johnny Cab. "Everybody quotes Quaid. Or Quato. Or the 2 weeks lady. But nobody ever quotes ME!" And a steady stream of Arnold baddies, including Michael Rooker and Michael Ironsides, pop up throughout, until the end where Arnold dies and all seems hopeless for guy, wife, and kids, when suddenly hordes of lifeless CGI Arnold clones from Mars of the future pop out of all the hostages cell phones: Commando, Dutch, Conan, Quaid, guy from Raw Deal, Hercules, Arnold from Pumping Iron (punching with 165 lb dumbbells, don't want too much or you'll pull a muscle), Kindergarten Cop (to watch the kids) Twin, and dead Arnold revives, cuz he's Terminator, and they beat the badguys, the end.

I really enjoyed the Sarah Conner Chronicles. I think it says a lot about the show that two of its stars Lena Headey and
Summer Glau are still highly sought after.

They've been talking about doing a sequel to Twins called triplets for a while with Eddie Murphy as the third brother. I'm a big fan of Kindergarten Cop and I wouldn't mind a sequel, perhaps University Cop.

nah if we're going to see a team up between Arnie and Statham, I want Statham to be in Commando 2, where he's dating Arnie's daughter who gets kidnapped and they both follow the trail...hi-jinx will ensue.

So I've heard, but I think he Sabotaged his leading man potential. He needs to do like Bruce Willis. He needs to humble himself, which he won't. He should play the university cop, in 22 jump street. His interaction with the 2 leading guys might make him relevant again, just ask Ice Cube.

"I won't be back"

does the movie suck that bad? Action movies w/Arnold dont work if there's no self-awareness of the absurdity of it all.

that would also be a great sequel. Maybe they could do a trio of films not connected with the Expendables. My picks would be Predator 3, and Commando 2 could be called Commando-in-Law, and the third would have to be Running Man 2: Jog On! OR a sequel to a Statham film... Crank 3: Pumping Iron.

"Are Arnie's leading man days over?"
Harsh but true. Unless he's back in his Terminator leathers, he can't carry a movie anymore.

The writing and actor direction is kind of a mess, but Arny is fantastic in it. It's worth full ticket price just to hear Arnold say, "This looks like a f**king crack house!". It's a real shame cause the movie had all the elements to be a fantastic action movie but was just handled wrong.

I think it has more to do with the fact that his current films are no where close to the quality, scale, and budget of his heyday films. Think if Arnold hand't done Junior, jingle All the Way, and Batman and Robin. Instead he had chose to film Crusade, I AM Legend (with Ridley Scott directing), and SWATT (with Oliver Stone directing). Those were all movies rumored in the late 90's. I think some bad picks kept Arnold from doing what he's good at, aligning himself with visionary filmmakers.

Last Stand and Escape Plan were very solid, entertaining movies. But also incredibly generic themes. In his prime, Arnold still couldn't act, but was always in high-concept films: a game show of the future, a killer robot, genetic twins, a cop who goes to kindergarten, heck, even Junior.

Pretty much since Eraser (a very well done movie people hate simply for having fake CGI alligators) he's played "a cop who has to blah blah dead wife etc blah" There's no catch to the films anymore, and thus nobody cares.

He can't age gracefully in Hollywood like Clint Eastwood, so his best bet is to become a parody of himself, which worked very well for William Shatner and more recently Alec Baldwin (the greatest actor of all time)

T3 was great though. Walked in expecting crap, walked out very impressed. Not sure why it (or X-men 3) gets so much hate. Oh wait. Because the original directors weren't involved. Right.

I think one factor that shuold be mentioned is that younger people probably don't have the same connetcion to Arnie that those of us in our 30's and 40's do.

To a high schooler Arnold Schwarzenegger is just that old guy who did some cool flms before they were born.

And let's face it, it is (and has been for decades) the young peopel who (usually) carry films, not the older crowd.

I guess it's like Charles Bronson or Paul Newman. When I was very young I had zero interest in their latest films (in the 80's) yet the older crowd still loved them.

All three of his 'comeback' vehicles were either B grade movies or worse. It's hard to judge Arnie's popularity given that fact.

Escape plan was a solid film, could have been a lot better with a few tweaks, I got feeling that film was dumb down to suite Arnie talents an studio bosses.

Sabotage was probably Arnolds best film since Predator.The movie goers today are pussies.They'd rather see twilight that's the bottom line

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