“The Last Stand” Indeed!
The 80’s are dead. And nothing has proven it more than the catastrophic box office failure of two guys who WERE the 80’s – Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Two Action Disasters!
Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone just opened films that bombed spectacularly at the box office – literally career worsts for both! In an era where most movies make more money overseas than they do at the US box office, these two stars may still end up doing well with these two films – but the failure of both of these films in the US is a cautionary tale for Hollywood – is there a world for real action stars in a super human world?
The Avengers made more than $600-million in the US alone – arguably without stars – the super hero characters ARE the stars of the movie…
The box office receipts today show how poorly Sly and Arnold did:
“The unlucky streak for action movies continued as audiences steered clear of the new Sylvester Stallone flick Bullet to the Head which crapped out in sixth place with an estimated $4.5M from 2,404 theaters for a dismal $1,872 average. ”
It was Stallone’s worst opening for a wide release in over three decades and fell below the dreadful debut two weeks ago from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who anchored The Last Stand – which opened to $6.3M.
These are shocking numbers for two guys who WERE the 80’s – and whose movies grossed more than $100-million at the box office routinely….but the world is changing, and movies that evoke another era just aren’t selling….let’s take a look:
Bullet To The Head
This is Stallone’s modern day take on “Cobra” and “Tango & Cash” – Stallone as action hero, but now grizzled, hardened, reflective…
The movie was directed by Walter Hill, another 80’s action hero, who directed the classic buddy-action hit “48 Hours”.
The Producer’s included a popular Korean star, Sung Kang in the movie – one of the stars of the “Fast & The Furious” series. But nothing will salvage the dismal US box office. That said, Sly’s in pretty good shape for his age!
The critics were also fairly kind – Entertainment Weekly gave it a 75 out of 100, saying:
“Bullet to the Head doesn’t try to adapt its star to 2013. It just pretends that we’re still living in 1986. And for 91 minutes, it just about works.”
It IS an entertaining, mindlessly violent action film – I mean, it has a great axe fight! For an hour and a half you do feel like you are back in 1986…but it’s 2013, including a bunch of older Stallone pictures in the film only remind you that he’s been around a LONG time….
Now to our other cautionary tale:
“The Last Stand” Indeed!
Look at this poster – literally torn from the 80’s! And so is the film – check out the trailer:
And look at the poster above: it almost evokes Arnold’s other notorious bomb “Last Action Hero”! I saw this trailer several times in a theater, and it was like going back to 1984…
This movie is Arnold’s “Eraser” and “Raw Deal”, re-imagined for a modern audience. Muscular, bad ass Arnold kicking ass and taking names…it felt like an homage to a more innocent time….and they added Johnny Knoxville to the cast, probably to try and get the youngsters in.
Entertainment Weekly gave it a 91, saying:
It’s a crackerjack B movie worthy of comparison to such stylishly low-down, smart-meets-dumb, hyper-violent entertainments as the 1997 Kurt Russell thriller “Breakdown,” Clint Eastwood’s infamous police bloodbath “The Gauntlet,” John Carpenter’s original “Assault on Precinct 13,” and Arnold’s own overlooked 1986 outing “Raw Deal.”
So there you have it: old-fashioned action films that deliver – but to who? Arnold also looks great, but clearly audiences were NOT interested in hanging out for two hours with the “Governator.”
It is clear that today’s action movie junkies want stars from their generation: the “Fast & Furious” franchise offers the same explosions, adrenalin-fueled chases and violence – but from cast members closer in age to themselves.
Both films are an interesting study in star-driven, action movies that seem out of place in today’s movie theater – and it continues to raise questions about the future of a real-life action star in today’s Super Hero world:
Tom Cruise had an action movie out over the holiday, and it barely hit $75-million in the US – his next few movies will test his star power as well…
Let me know what you think!