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Hops and Box Office Flops: LAST ACTION HERO – The “Big Ticket” That Somehow Sold No Tickets in ’93

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It’s #ArnoldActionMonth and were starting things off with a bang by bringing out the “big gun”—Last Action Hero!

With the combined talents of John McTiernan (the director of Die Hard and Predator), Arnold Schwarzenegger (perhaps the biggest star on the planet after Terminator 2), and Shane Black (the writer of classics like Lethal Weapon and The Monster Squad), what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, for Last Action Hero, quite a bit.

“Last Action Hero” by Matt Ryan Tobin

A movie born from two writers geeky admiration for the action classics of the 80s and 90s,Last Action Hero devolved into a tragic Hollywood tale of push and pull. Writers were hired and unceremoniously fired. The script bounced between script doctors to the point of the director’s delirium, and the shooting schedule left no room for error.

As insane as this film’s journey was, though, I’d argue little of that stress and indecision is reflected on screen. It’s an entertaining action thrill ride—equal parts humor, satire, and machismo—that despite all its hurdles, knows exactly what it wants to be.

But that, after all, is just one man’s opinion; and in 1993, Last Action Hero was a movie tarnished before it ever opened to the public. Saddled with horrifically bad word of mouth, a ballooning—and often mind boggling—advertising budget, and the looming figure of a release date no one thought they could meet, it was gone before most had even known it had arrived, falling prey to the money gobbling jowls of Jurassic Park’s infamous t-rex.

It can’t be argued that it was a bomb, but did it truly deserve to be? Well, there’s only one way to find out, so sit back, grab a beer, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and the Irate Lover explore the meta-movie within a movie, featuring a plot ripped from the stargazing ramblings of my fourth grade journal.

As always be sure to check our Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) for notes from the show—trailers, factoids, and other fun links. 

You can find this week’s episode of Hops and Box Office Flops, as always, on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherand now Spotify!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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