In the 1980s and 1990s, Arnold Schwarzenegger made a reputation for himself with movies like Terminator and Terminator 2. Both movies were a critical and commercial success. He was at the peak of his career.
And just when his career trajectory was soaring, he did John McTiernan’s Last Action Hero, which went terribly for the actor and was quite upset over the failure. The movie mainly takes place in the universe of the fictional Jack Slater movie franchise, with Schwarzenegger playing the action hero as a young boy is teleported from the real world into Slater’s reality.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Was Hurt and Embarrassed By Last Action Hero Failure
Reflecting on the experience in Netflix’s three-part docuseries Arnold, the actor talked about the failure and how it hurt him.
“When Last Action Hero came out, I had reached my peak after Terminator 2 having the most successful movie of the year worldwide. I cannot tell you how upset I was. It hurts you. It hurts your feelings. It’s embarrassing.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger then added that he “didn’t want to see anyone for a week”, but he kept plodding along and took his mother-in-law’s advice “Let’s just move forward” to heart.
However, the film was not totally a box office flop as it finished its global run with $137 million made with an $85 million budget.
Terminator Director James Cameron Recalled What Arnold Schwarzenegger Felt
When the Predator actor was almost broke with the response Last Action Hero received, veteran director James Cameron called him and tried to uplift the actor. According to Cameron, he had never heard Schwarzenegger sound so low!
“He sounded like he was in bed crying. 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.’ That’s the only time I’ve ever heard him down.” [Arnold (via EW)]
Following the failure of the Last Action Hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger quickly got back up on his feet and went to work the next day. Having watched the 1991 French comedy-adventure La Totale!, he went on to do 1994’s True Lies, his next film with Cameron.
Watch Last Action Hero on Prime Video.