There was a collective cry of joy or simply of disbelief when Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would be making his movie comeback, now that he was done with politics. His third film so far after the long hiatus, “Sabotage,” which came out this Friday, turned out to be another resounding dud.
The Wrap reports that the film opened to a very disappointing $5.2 million (€3.7 million) weekend, which makes it Arnold’s third box office bomb and his biggest as of this date.
This kind of box office gross would be acceptable for an indie getting a limited run, but not for a film as star-packed as “Sabotage” – and we’re not talking just about Arnold’s involvement. It also stars Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Josh Halloway, Mireille Enos, and Terrence Howard, and is directed by David Ayer, who previously won over critics and fans with films like “Training Day” and “End of Watch.”
In fact, one might argue, Arnold was far from the biggest star on board the project, because it was Ayer who should have guaranteed a solid box office performance.
Even so, as they are, things aren’t too bright for Schwarzenegger either, since “Sabotage” opened worse than last year’s “Escape Plan” and “The Last Stand” before it. Reception for it has also been dismal: a mere 22% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics and double from the audience.
He’s not planning on quitting though: he has several movies in production, including the rebooted “Terminator,” which is directed by Alan Taylor of the “Thor: The Dark World” fame and the next installment of “The Expendables.”
One reason why Arnold is still in business, an industry insider tells the aforementioned publication, is that he’s still huge in overseas markets, even if audiences at home in the United States have had about enough of him.
“Arnold has been a box office bust in the US ever since he came back from his political tour of duty, and even before that his star was steadily falling. The reason he's still being offered modestly budgeted action films at his age is the fact that overseas audiences are still smitten with the aging action star,” Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst says.
“Obviously it ain't 1986 over here anymore, but he can still flex his muscles abroad,” the analyst adds.
Arnold is also a sort of curiosity for being old but still able to do action movies so, as long as these two work together to guarantee a decent profit, movie studios will still hire him.