When Arnold Schwarzenegger became California's Governor, it seemed like he was ready to leave behind the world of acting. With roles in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and other action films under his belt, he made a formidable political opponent. After a short cameo role in "The Expendables," he announced that he missed acting and wanted to start acting again. He took on a larger role in "The Expendables 2" before filming "The Last Stand," and some film fans might be surprised by a few facts about that film.
Schwarzenegger Comes out of Retirement
The last time that Schwarzenegger had a lead role in a major motion picture was in 2003 when he worked on "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." Terminator Salvation, the fourth film in the franchise, landed in theaters in 2009, starring Christian Bale ("The Dark Knight Rises"). Filmed while Schwarzenegger was in office, it was the only film in the series not to feature the actor. He appeared in a supporting role in "The Expendables 2," but "The Last Stand" marks his first leading role in nearly a decade.
A Predator Reunion
When fans list their top Schwarzenegger films, "Predator" often rates high on that list. Released in 1987, the film grossed nearly $60 million in the United States alone, making it one of the top films of the year and one of the top action films of the decade. "The Last Stand" reunites Schwarzenegger with one his co-stars in that film, Sonny Landham. Landham only appeared in a few films over the ensuing decades, but he was happy to once again appear with Schwarzenegger. With Schwarzenegger in talks to do a "Predator" remake, it might lead some fans to wonder if Landham will also appear in that film.
Connections to Horror
South Korean director Jee-woon Kim has little experience when it comes to action films and even less experience with American films. The director launched his career as a horror writer and director, penning the screenplay to the film "The Quiet Family," which he also directed. One of his best-known films is "A Tale of Two Sisters," which told the story of two young girls and the things they saw and experienced after their mother's death. The film gained popularity in the United States after the American remake "The Uninvited" landed in theaters. "The Last Stand" marks his first film made for an American audience.
Shooting in Small Towns
Many modern day action film directors head to Canada or dress down a larger city to represent a small town, but "The Last Stand" was filmed entirely in the United States. Production started in Belen, New Mexico in October of 2011. This small town is home to less than 8,000 citizens, but those citizens made the cast and crew feel welcome. The director later moved production to Nevada to film some of the outdoor action scenes. On December 17, the director sent the cast and crew home for a short break, giving everyone the chance to spend time with their families. Production on the film resumed on January 3 of the following year. The film spent nearly twelve months in post-production before it finally landed in theaters.
Making Back Its Budget
When Schwarzenegger announced plans to work on an action film, many in Hollywood assumed that he would jump right back into the big-budget films he worked on before focusing on his political career. Schwarzenegger previously made upwards of $25 million dollars per film, but he agreed to take a pay cut for "The Last Stand." Some reports indicate that he earned a flat $10 million plus a percentage of the box office, though other reports claim he earned even less for the film. "The Last Stand" was made on a budget of about $45 million, and the film grossed more than $18 million in its first few weeks. Though this is less than what his previous films earned at the box office, it shows that Schwarzenegger still has what it takes to open a film. Schwarzenegger himself admitted that he wanted to work on a film with a lower budget as a way to test the waters before committing to a bigger film.
"The Last Stand" earned its fair share of positive reviews in its opening weekend, and it has made the list of the top ten films every weekend since it opened. The film already has a number of fans, eager to see Schwarzenegger back onscreen. With rumors swirling of "Predator" and "Conan the Barbarian" remakes, it's clear that Schwarzenegger is back on top again.