The Last Stand box office: Arnold Schwarzenegger drops the worst bomb of his 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.
Schwarzenegger’s very worst opening-weekend debut
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 1970s 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 $5.4 million; Kindergarten Cop (1988), with $7.9 million (1990), though, surprisingly, it went on to gross a respectable $91.5 million; The Last Action Hero (1993), with $15.3 million; Junior (1994), with $9.8 million; Jingle All the Way (1996), with $12.1 million; The 6th Day (2000), with $13 million; and Collateral Damage (2002), with $15.1 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.
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 movie image: Lionsgate Pictures.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters box office: No. 1 on North American chart?
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as tightly clad, glamorously sexy machine-gun-toting witch hunters, is expected to open at the North American box office with a passable $7–$8 million at 3,372 theaters on Friday, including $500,000 earned at Thursday late evening / midnight screenings. If those early, rough Friday estimates are on target, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters should end up in the high teens by Sunday evening. (Image: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Jeremy Renner glamorously aims to kill.)
Although Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters could not be considered a downright bomb, in case those early box office estimates are indeed accurate they would hardly indicate a great opening for a movie that reportedly cost $50 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses. And that has the advantage of 3D ticket surcharges at about 2,900 venues. At Box Office Mojo, for instance, Ray Subers had predicted something closer to $22 million – hardly a blockbuster-type gross, but about 10–20 percent above current estimates as found at Deadline.com. Distributor Paramount is also expecting an opening in the high teens to low 20s.
The silver lining: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters opened with an outstanding $8.6 million in Russia. If other international markets follow suit, once again a North American box office disappointment will be saved by 3D/action-loving overseas moviegoers.
Now, domestic Friday (and as a result, weekend) box office figures could go up or down, depending on late-evening business, a key factor for R-rated movies such as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Official Friday estimates will be released on Saturday morning.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters cast
Directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola (of the über-violent Dead Snow), and co-written by Wirkola and Dante Harper, besides the presence of Gemma Arterton and The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy star and two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town), the Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters cast also features Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Derek Mears, Robin Atkin Downes, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Joanna Kulig, and Thomas Mann.
Of note: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters has arrived in theaters nearly a year after its originally planned release date, March 2012. Also, this violent reimagining of the fairy tale has a 0 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics. (Admittedly, only nine have been polled so far.)
Jeremy Renner Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters movie image: Paramount Pictures.