One of the sadder things happened in the past couple weeks, especially to anyone who grew up with a poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger on their walls. Terminator 2, the untitled sequel to Terminator: Genisys that had been tentatively scheduled for 2017, was officially off the docket as the film at best barely made any money. For a film that wasn’t far from $500 million in total box office dollars that’s something; it was easily the lowest grossing of the franchise outside of the original … and in today’s dollars it would have done far better than Genisys did.
Arnold Schwarzengger’s attempt at returning to his glory days of 30 years ago as king of the box office are officially over, as the long gestating King Conan was effectively shelved and now Arnold finds himself trying to reinvent himself in the latter stages of his career. People don’t want to see him save the world anymore, it seems, and he’s starting to transition into being an actor as he approaches his later years. But something amusing came up during a conversation with a friend of mine this weekend.
He pointed out that Arnold being an active endorser of a mobile phone game might be the most embarrassing thing someone of his caliber could do. Arnold, who once was the biggest star alive, is now pondering how to stay relevant as well as being the face of a game trying to compete with the Boom Beaches of the world. Kind of crazy in a way; he hasn’t hit over $100 million domestic box office on his own since his heyday without being in an Expendables film. And even then that was a cameo performance from the box office titan, as the third Terminator film marked his last flirtation at that box office number.
And while I feel bad for Arnold, that he’s almost slumming it these days, the one guy who I feel even worse for than Arnold is Christoph Waltz. We always discuss who won certain things, like who had the best career since a certain film (like De Niro vs. Pacino in HEAT) but we never discuss who’s losing more. And in the battle of famous actors who were both born in Austria you’d think Arnold would be far behind when it comes to who you feel sorry for when you see them in a commercial for a mobile game.
However Waltz, one of the great character actors of our time and a two-time Oscar winner, is perhaps in an even worse spot because we almost expect more out of him.
Waltz, who wins an Oscar every time Quentin Tarantino casts him in a film, has a level of credibility that Arnold doesn’t. So seeing him shill for Clash of Clans while amusing, like Kevin Spacey going full on crazy for E-Trade, you can at least understand why Arnold would do it. He’s trying to remain popular and cling to that image of him as the box office gorilla that he was for nearly 20 years, leaving as he was fading out to become Governor of California. There’s an old Bill Burr bit that makes you realize how insanely against the odds Schwarzenegger was coming to this country and how what he did was beyond remarkable.
Seeing Waltz as the “Clash of Clans” guy, when he’s got two Oscars on his mantle, feels like a little more of a loss because he’s got the resume and hardware to above it all. He may be the least known two-time Oscar winner ever, mainly as “that German guy in Tarantino films” to a number of people, so seeing him as just another celebrity spokesman is much sadder than Arnold in so many ways.
It’s like watching Tina Fey play Sarah Palin again this weekend on Saturday Night Live. You feel sorry that anytime Palin does something that Fey is pulled out of mothballs for a one note impression that stopped being funny a long time ago … and then watch Palin endorse Trump and realize that you don’t need the Fey parody anymore. She’s already a self parody.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound
Fifty Shades of Black – A parody of the Grey franchise.
See it – The Wayans gang is either hit or miss … and well … they seem due for a hit.
The Finest Hours – The dramatic retelling of a great Coast Guard rescue.
Skip it – This was supposed to be a 2015 release … and wound up in the graveyard.
Kung Fu Panda 3 – Jack Black has to lead some pandas against a new threat
Skip it – The first two were summer films. This is a January film … they must know they have a stinker on their hands and are dropping it here to minimize the damage.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.