Despite being one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first significant flops, he regards this film as an unappreciated classic. Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a spectacular career, from his early bodybuilding days to his decades-long reign as a box office heavyweight. However, among the shining triumphs are some very tragic tragedies. Last Action Hero, although having all the trappings of a movie office hit, turned out to be an enormous commercial and critical disappointment, only surpassed by the 1997 overproduced fiasco, Batman & Robin. Here’s why, despite being one of his first and most serious setbacks, Arnold Schwarzenegger regards the picture as his most underappreciated masterpiece. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero Was His First Ever Flop. After the success of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger took on the starring role in Last Action Hero, a fantasy action comedy. Unfortunately, this film would also be a watershed moment in his career, as it was his first flop.
The film premiered to $15.3 million at the American box office, two days after Steven Spielberg’s box office hit, Jurassic Park, and went on to gross a miserable $137 million globally; a pitiful sum when compared to its large $85 million budget. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger had to deal with more than just the film’s poor box office result. Last Action Hero was enveloped in a Tsunami of negative publicity even before it made its big screen premiere. “Last Action Hero makes such a strenuous show of winking at the audience (and itself) that it seems to be celebrating nothing so much as its own awfulness,” observed Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman. In a way, the film’s impending commercial failure completes it visually.” On Rotten Tomatoes, the film now has a 40% approval rating, with a critical consensus that reads, “Last Action Hero has most of the right ingredients for a big-budget action spoof, but its scattershot tone and uneven structure only add up to a confused, chaotic mess.
” Last Action Hero’s poor performance did not sit well with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled to accept Last Action Hero’s dismal commercial and critical performance after being accustomed to breaking box office records. Prior to acting in the ill-fated picture, Schwarzenegger had acted in the massively popular Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which grossed an amazing $520 million at the box office, making it the biggest grossing film of 1991 globally. As a result, seeing a potential box office sensation flop so spectacularly was a particularly difficult pill to swallow for the action legend. “I had reached my peak after Terminator 2 when Last Action Hero came out.” “Having the most successful movie of the year on a global scale,” the action legend acknowledged in Arnold, a three-part Netflix documentary. “I can’t express how furious I was. It pains you, it hurts your emotions… It was humiliating… “I didn’t want to see anyone for a week,” he explained further. “However, you keep going.
‘Let’s just go forward,’ my mother-in-law would constantly say. It was an excellent message.” The barrage of unfavorable reviews eventually became too much for the famed action hero to bear. According to Terminator director James Cameron, the action legend was so heartbroken that he couldn’t bear the company of anyone. “He sounded like he was in bed crying,” Cameron revealed on Schwarzenegger’s Netflix documentary. “He saw it as a serious blow to his brand.” I believe it jolted him… ‘What are you gonna do?’ I asked. ‘I’m just going to hang out by myself,’ he remarked. That’s the only time I’ve ever heard him say anything negative.” Despite the film’s underwhelming box office result, Schwarzenegger remains a fervent believer in its benefits. In fact, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the action veteran declared the picture to be his most underestimated effort. Unlike the reviewers, Schwarzenegger appeared to believe that the film’s poor box office success was caused by the underhanded efforts of his political opponents.
In an interview with Business Insider, the action hero turned California governor explained how his foray into politics drove Last Action Hero to its knees. “It was one of those things where President Clinton was elected, and the press somehow made the whole thing kind of political where they thought, ‘Okay, the ’80s action guys are gone, here’s a perfect example,’ and they wrote this narrative before anyone saw the movie,” he said. “The action hero era is over, Bill Clinton has arrived, highbrow films are the ‘in’ thing now, and I couldn’t recover.” I believe more people would have seen it if the press had treated it differently, but the good news is that streaming allows anyone to watch it.” Last Action Hero benefited greatly from the age of streaming, as he predicted. As things stand, Schwarzenegger isn’t the only one who believes the film has a hidden appeal. Audiences have progressively grown to recognize its peculiar appeal, enjoying its blend of action, comedy, and meta-commentary. Since then, the picture has garnered a devoted fanbase and soared to cult classic status, indicating that it is one of Schwarzenegger’s most underappreciated works.