Box Office Outlook: Sabotage
Sabotage poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published March 27, 2014
I think the opening day will be $2 million at the least and around $3 million at the most, which leaves its weekend struggling between $6 and 9 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back again despite the fact that very few people want to see him back again. There was once a glory-days period for this man when he was consistently seen as awesome by mainstream audiences, but those days seem long gone as he commits to utter crap. Even when he has committed to utter crap in more recent years, though, he has ended up being the most fun aspect of the given movie and just happened to star in a movie that just didn’t work. The Last Stand was the worst movie out of his more recent crop of titles and it should’ve been much more guilty-pleasure-fun than it ended up being, as it was just terrible and it felt like a big bomb just watching it. I had showed up to the first midnight screening thinking that a midnight audience would be better than seeing it on opening night, and I almost collapsed laughing when there was nobody in the theater. I was practically sitting alone in a 150 seat auditorium and my mind was getting nostalgic about his career.

Then the movie started and I was thinking about everything everybody else was probably doing with their night and time instead of watching this movie and how they ended up being much smarter than me because I got duped into this. I wanted to walk out of this screening quick and just go home and put on an Arnold movie that was actually good and remember the glory days. I guess it’s a little too much to ask for something like Terminator 2, True Lies, or even Eraser to get produced again. What happened to the days when edgy action/thrillers were actually quality and smart? Is it that filmmakers and storytellers just aren’t good anymore or have Hollywood studios refused them? I wish James Cameron and Arnold would re-team again but Cameron is too busy breaking box office records making safe PG-13 action movies. Even with Avatar the trailers had me pumped up to enjoy it and then I got punched in the gut by it because I know Cameron is much edgier than the script happened to be and I thought he wussed out by playing it family-friendly. He’s not going to listen to me on this though because I think the box office kind of overpowers me here.

Maybe Sabotage will surprise me because I was indeed surprised by End of Watch’s quality as a police ride-along drama/thriller and this is done by the same filmmaker. But the trailer doesn’t look good and like so many genre titles it looks like it just packs on cliché after cliché where it’s all been done before. The audience at the opening night sold out show of American Hustle was on the verge of screaming out “ahhhnnoooldd!” when he was first shown in the trailer and then all enthusiasm just went away fast. That audience was really smart and grew up on his generation of films and they could’ve cared less here. I suspect Sabotage is going to play better in black and Hispanic populations than more white-centered areas but even with them I’m not sure how much appeal there’s going to be about this aged superstar. Where I saw End of Watch, the audience was all black and Hispanic and there were very few otherwise. There’s more of a cast here for appeal than The Last Stand had, and Arnold’s Escape Plan also had Stallone there as the lead and Stallone, with most movies, still brings in an okay amount of people. Between Arnold’s controversial home life being in the center of moviegoers’ minds these days combined with his lack of acting skills altogether, him being the big star of a new movie isn’t what it used to mean.

The Last Stand debuted to $6.3 million which was bad, Escape Plan debuted to $9.9 million which was okay, and while he wasn’t in it, End of Watch debuted to $13.2 million which was very decent. That film, though, featured Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, neither of whom have the slightest bit of controversy concerning how they live their lives away from the public eye. When a big star completely disgusts their target audience with big reveals from the media eye, audiences are going to shift their perspectives and make sure not to support anything they are doing. It might’ve helped that The Expendables was only a cameo and not a real role because that made money. Even if previous fans weren’t fans of his anymore, there was an ensemble of action heroes attached who were trying to be the next Arnold and that was one of the big attractions behind the concept and it opened to $34.8 million.

In any other typical time, I’d be predicting an opening day of around $4 million and $12 million weekend but since Arnold has such a base of haters, the debut for this might not be much better than Last Stand. I think the opening day for Sabotage will be $2 million at the least and around $3 million at the most, which leaves its weekend struggling between $6 and 9 million. Its price tag was $35 million and if it does fall in that range it’s going to struggle to hit $25 million, $10 million short of its budget. You’d normally think that all these dud performances would send a message to him but then again he probably doesn’t care what people think and doesn’t give a shit about the controversy that erupted. It used to work in his favor decades ago when he didn’t care about gossip, but in today’s time, it’s just sad. He gets paid millions of dollars with each movie and has a blast, but the fans aren’t smiling anymore.
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'Sabotage' Articles
  • Craig's Sabotage review C
    March 27, 2014    The film is pretty much non-eventful, sloppy, and a poor use of the talent involved. -- Craig Younkin