Arnold Schwarzenegger has had no shortage of hits throughout his career, but he’s still embarrassed by the lackluster reception of one of his would-be blockbuster’s, the 1993 action comedy “Last Action Hero.”
In the new three-part Netflix docuseries “Arnold,” the bodybuilder-turned-star-turned-governor details his varied career, providing insights into his momentous highs and lows as an action icon, including the time that John McTiernan’s “Last Action Hero” flopped at the box office.
“I cannot tell you how upset I was,” Schwarzenegger says in the doc. “It hurts you. It hurts your feelings. It’s embarrassing… I didn’t want to see anyone for a week. But you keep plodding along. And my mother-in-law also said this all the time: ‘Let’s just move forward.’ It’s a great message.”
The very meta comedy starred Schwarzenegger as the fictional action hero character Jack Slater, who bonds with a young movie fan Danny (Austin O’Brien). At the start of the film, Danny gets magically transported into Jack Slater’s fictional world. The two form a formidable bond as the film riffs on Schwarzenegger’s star persona.
Against an $85 million production budget, “Last Action Hero” opened to $15.3 million at the domestic box office. It finished its global theatrical run with $137 million — far from Schwarzenegger’s usual drawing power at the time.
“When ‘Last Action Hero’ came out I had reached my peak after ‘Terminator 2,’ having the most successful movie of the year worldwide,” Schwarzenegger reveals in the docuseries.
“Terminator 2: Judgement Day” earned $31.8 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, finishing with a total of $520.9 million worldwide. At the time, it was the third-highest grossing film ever, after “Star Wars” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”
In the Netflix docuseries, “Terminator” director James Cameron recalls his first conversation with Schwarzenegger after “Last Action Hero” opened in theaters.
“He sounded like he was in bed crying,” said Cameron. “He took it as a deep blow to his brand. I think it really shook him… I said, ‘What are you gonna do?’ He said, ‘I’m just gonna hang out by myself.’” Cameron added, “That’s the only time I’ve ever heard him down.”
“Arnold” and Schwarzenegger’s new scripted series “Fubar” are streaming on Netflix.