He Said He’d Be Back
The 65-year-old “Governator” was not kidding when he said he wanted to get back into acting. After leaving office in 2011, he laid low for a year and allowed the controversy over his divorce to blow over. Once out of the media spotlight, Arnold Schwarzenegger went full steam ahead. He saw some box office success with his appearance in Expendables 2 but his first stand-alone film, The Last Stand, was a huge box office flop. With over 8 movies in the pipeline for the next few years, it makes me wonder if Arnold Schwarzenegger still has the star power to drive people to the box office.
My answer is yes and no. Do people like seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in action hero roles? Absolutely! However, there are some obstacles he has to overcome before he can reclaim his former prestige. First is gaining back his primary audience. The primary target audience for an action movie is men under 25. However, Arnold was busy running California and absent from the big screens during most of their teen and young adult life. Another reason is that Arnold is getting older; it is a lot harder to imagine the 65-year old actor as the same bad ass action hero he once was. The Last Stand failed to drive people to the box office and earned a little over $12 million domestically with a $40 million production budget. Based off box office results, it seems people weren’t ready to accept the older Arnold as a lead action hero in a film just yet.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a huge brand, and his name is bigger than ever. I believe there are two main ways to utilize the Schwarzenegger brand and turn it into a huge box office draw again.
The first is to expand upon already well-known and successful franchises. The Expendables 2 was a box office success because it built upon something people already knew and liked. I predict that the Expendables 3, Conan, and Terminator 5 can all achieve box office success because they are the iconic roles everyone expects and enjoys from Arnold.
The other way is to pair Arnold with younger action stars. Build up Arnold’s fan base among young men by pairing him up with stars that are already popular with that demographic. It is rumored that Dwayne Johnson might co-star with Arnold in Terminator 5. I think it’s a great idea to pair up somebody that is now hot in the box office with someone who used to be not too long ago. The two will have great box office synergy and draw upon their respective audiences.
All in all, Arnold should go back into movies. He just needs to be careful with what projects he picks up and when. If he can stick with (at least initially) iconic roles or films alongside proven box office stars today, I’m sure he will be back and can eventually return to being a stand-alone leading man. His next two films are non-franchise, but he does co-star with Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan and some newer action stars in Sabotage. Do you think the Arnold can make a comeback in Hollywood?
Beggs, Scott. “3 Confusing Things About Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Return to Acting.” Film School Rejects. http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/3-confusing-things-about-arnold-schwarzeneggers-return-to-acting.php
Jagernauth, Kevin. “Arnold Schwarzenegger is Making a Zombie Movie Now, While Dwayne Johnson is Rumored for Terminator 5. Indiewire. http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/arnold-schwarzenegger-is-making-a-zombie-movie-now-while-dwayne-johnson-is-rumored-for-terminator-5-20130621
Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=laststand.htm