Are Sylvester Stallone And Arnold Schwarzenegger's Careers Over?

By Sean O'Connell 2013-02-04 10:49:45discussion comments


Perhaps I’m just surprised to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger suffering such dreadful openings within such close proximity of one another. You have to go all the way back to 1985’s Red Sonja to find an Arnold movie that opened to a lower number than The Last Stand (and Sonja, in its defense, only opened in 1,091 locations according to BoxOfficeMojo). In their prime, Schwarzenegger and Stallone powered mediocre genre crap to impressive financial standings. Back in the day, studios could get away with a Jingle All the Way ($60.5M domestic gross) or an Assassins ($30.3M) because Arnold or Sly’s name above the title meant people were going to come regardless of the plot. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

If I had to answer my own question, I'd say that both men have some life in their action-hero legs, and these two abysmal openings just coincidentally occurred within weeks of each other. A movie flops for many reasons, and the age of the star doesn't have to be the deciding factor. I'm willing to chalk it up as an unfortunately bad stretch. In fact, the duo will join forces later this year for The Tomb, and if that's a hit, this column is moot.

However, I'm also paying attention to one other upcoming picture, and wondering if this action-hero malaise could swallow A Good Day to Die Hard, as well. For the first time, I’m legitimately concerned. Bruce Willis was one of the Planet Hollywood partners. He’s an official member of the Expendables ensemble. And at 57, he’s inching closer to that “too old for this shit” black hole that appears to be claiming his colleagues.

But the Die Hard sequel should be safe. For starters, it’s a damn Die Hard movie, and even the disappointing chapters (like Die Hard With a Vengeance) make money. Not to mention the fact that audiences (and critics) are far more interested in the thoughtful, challenging features Willis mixes into his workload in between action staples. You’d probably never catch Stallone or Schwarzenegger in a Wes Anderson comedy or a time-twisting thriller like Looper. By routinely shifting his approach, Willis keeps his fan base on its toes. They’re still willing to check back with the actor to see what he has up his sleeve.

However, if A Good Day to Die Hard opens to a lower number than Cop Out ($18.2M), Surrogates ($14.9M) or 16 Blocks ($11.8M), we could be adding yet another line to the eulogy that’s currently being written for my generation’s once-powerful action-movie icons … who could be going out with more of a whimper than a bang.
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