I went to see Noah and Mistaken for Strangers this weekend, mistakenly thinking Arnold Schwarzenegger's Sabotage would be around for a little while so I could catch it at the beer theaters or whatever, but nope! Looks it looks like it'll be dropping off the face of the earth pretty much immediately:
Sabotage tanked with $5.3 million. That's lower than last year's The Last Stand ($6.3 million)—in fact, it's the worst debut for an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie since Red Sonja in 1985. Add in last October's Escape Plan ($9.9 million, with help from Sylvester Stallone) and Schwarzenegger's return to leading man status has been embarrassing to say the least. At this point, it's pretty clear that moviegoers don't want to see "The Governator" in action movie mode anymore. (Via.)
Bringing up Red Sonja? That's cold, Box Office Mojo. Ice cold.
Sabotage being the latest in a string of stalled-out Schwarzenegger comeback vehicles kind of makes me... sad? I mean, as sad as I can be for a ridiculous human cartoon who's obscenely successful and nauseatingly rich, I guess. But I grew up on Schwarzenegger movies, and the guy always seemed more or less bulletproof, both on film and in real life—seeing him be shut out so hard, and seeing him be told, in no uncertain terms, that people no longer want to see him do his ridiculous human cartoon thing—bums me out. Even more so because Denis liked Sabotage!
Sabotage's tension, sex, and remarkably natural paramilitary banter flow right from the playbook of director and co-writer David Ayer, who's made an underappreciated career mining the darker side of patriotism and the law, turning heroes into villains and then back again (see Training Day and Street Kings and Harsh Times).
Ayer also avoids making the whole thing come off like a "Schwarzenegger" movie. Schwarzenegger is a force of nature. He's also become a caricature of himself. Ayer gets the best of his star—the steel, the smirk, the boorishness—but reins him in by leaving him the understated leader of a hotheaded ensemble.
And also by drenching everything in blood. And sometimes entrails. It's hard to be a cartoon when you're covered in human offal. It's really easy to be awesome. (Via.)
The next big picture for Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 3 doesn't count, for anything, for anyone) will be Terminator... let's see. One, two, three, four... Terminator Five, which apparently will star multiple Schwarzeneggers, a fact that at one point was probably considered a brilliant plan but now has to be making the film's financiers just a tiny bit nervous at this point.
Maybe Terminator Five: Let's Pretend That the Last Two Movies Never Happened will finally be the comeback Schwarzenegger's been hoping for. But even if it isn't, we'll always have Commando.
We'll always have Commando.