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Arnold Schwarzenegger 'The Last Stand': Worst Box-Office Bomb in His Career?

Arnold Schwarzenegger The Last StandArnold Schwarzenegger The Last Stand: Worst box office bomb in Schwarzenegger's career?

Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie-star vehicle since Jonathan Mostow's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, the Lionsgate release The Last Stand opened in North America last Friday, January 18. Expectations weren't high: Reviews have been mixed – The Last Stand has a 43 percent approval rating and a 5.3/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics – while pundits and distributor Lionsgate had been expecting a modest box office debut somewhere in the low to mid-teens. Those, however, turned out to be much too optimistic. (Image: Arnold Schwarzenegger The Last Stand.)

The tale of a law-and-order U.S. border sheriff (Schwarzenegger) out to stop a drug lord (Eduardo Noriega) from reaching the lawless South (that's Mexico), The Last Stand grossed $6.3 million at 2,913 North American locations according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Once inflation is factored in, that is the worst opening-weekend gross of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie in the last 27 years: In August 1985, Red Sonja opened with $2.26 million (or about $5 million today) – but at only 1,091 sites.

The Last Stand: In relative terms, the very worst opening-weekend debut in Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie-star career

In other words, in terms of inflation-adjusted per-theater averages, The Last Stand – which averaged a disastrous $2,163 per site – suffered the very worst Arnold Schwarzenegger opening-weekend debut in the former California governor's three-decades-plus movie-star career. The Last Stand was reportedly budgeted at $45 million, not including marketing / distribution expenses.

Note: Figures for Schwarzenegger's '70s movies are unavailable at Box Office Mojo. Either way, apart from stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham's 1979 comedy Western The Villain, an ensemble piece featuring Kirk Douglas, Ann-Margret, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator star had no leading roles in the '70s. (The Villain, by the way, was a box office bomb as per figures found in Variety's annual box office charts.) Schwarzenegger's first star vehicle, in fact, was John Milius' campy actioner Conan the Barbarian, which took in $9.6 million (approx. $25 million today) at 1,683 locations on its May 1982 opening weekend.

The Last Stand vs. previous Arnold Schwarzenegger box office disappointments

For comparison's sake, here are the opening figures (not adjusted for inflation) of several Arnold Schwarzenegger movies that were considered box office disappointments (at times downright bombs) upon their release: Raw Deal (1986), with $5.43m; Kindergarten Cop (1988), with $7.91 million (1990), though, surprisingly, it went on to gross a respectable $91.45m; The Last Action Hero (1993), with $15.33m; Junior (1994), with $9.8m; Jingle All the Way (1996), with $12.11m; The 6th Day (2000), with $13.02m; and Collateral Damage (2002), with $15.05 million.

Anyhow, box office expectations for the upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger / Sylvester Stallone pairing The Tomb must have already been revised downwards. The Mikael Håfström-directed action-thriller is scheduled to open via Summit Entertainment / Lionsgate in late September.

Of course, Lionsgate's own The Expendables and The Expendables 2, both of which also feature Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, did decent business in North America. But those movies were ensemble all-star pieces. The Tomb is a two-star vehicle. That's quite different. And although the overseas market eagerly embraced The Expendables 2 ($215.4 million internationally), don't expect the same level of enthusiasm to greet non-sequels The Last Stand and The Tomb.

Arnold Schwarzenegger toplines The Last Stand cast

Directed by The Good, the Bad, the Weird's Jee-woon Kim, making his full-fledged Hollywood debut, besides the gun-toting Arnold Schwarzenegger and fugitive Eduardo Noriega (who certainly deserves much better than to play escaped drug lords in B American movies), The Last Stand features Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Stormare, Richard Dillard, Jamie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Johnny Knoxville, and Chris Browning. Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff were credited for screenplay.

Arnold Schwarzenegger The Last Stand photo: Lionsgate Pictures.

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2 Comments to Arnold Schwarzenegger 'The Last Stand': Worst Box-Office Bomb in His Career?

  1. Robert B.

    I thought The Last Stand was a great movie for his age and change of lifestyle. Welcome back Arnold

  2. Arnie76

    Time for Arnold Schwarzenegger to play villains in Tom Cruise movies. His days as a star are over. I, for one, won't miss him.