Schwarzenegger is back, and Hollywood hopes he's still a star

Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:32pm EST
 
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By Ronald Grover and Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As he famously droned on-screen in his signature "Terminator" movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back.

A year after leaving the California governor's office and becoming tabloid fodder for fathering a boy with his family's housekeeper and splitting with his wife, Maria Shriver, the 65-year old former bodybuilder will star in no less than three Hollywood movies over the next 12 months.

None are likely to win Schwarzenegger an Oscar. Indeed, the movies, and Schwarzenegger's own fee, are low-budget compared with his global blockbusters of yore. But studio executives are betting that overseas fans especially will once again respond to a personality whose 24 films generated worldwide ticket sales of $3.9 billion, according to boxoffice.com.

"He is still a worldwide star who resonates with action audiences around the world," said Rob Friedman, the co-chairman of the Lionsgate motion picture group, which is scheduled to release his next two films. "The Last Stand" will open on January 18, and "The Tomb" in September.

"Ten," the third film, is scheduled for release in January 2014 by Open Road Films, a joint venture of the AMC and Regal Theater chains.

"When you have left the movie business for seven years, it's kind of a scary thing to come back because you don't know if you're accepted or not," Schwarzenegger said at a Saturday press event for "The Last Stand."

"There could be a whole new generation of action stars that come up in the meantime."

The actor said he was "very pleasantly surprised" by what he called a "great reaction" to his cameo in the 2010 action film "The Expendables," which featured fellow action stars Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. The film grossed $103.1 million in U.S. ticket sales and $274.5 million worldwide.   Continued...

 
Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presents his book 'Total Recall' during a news conference during the book fair in Frankfurt, in this October 10, 2012 file photo. A year after leaving the California governor's office and becoming tabloid fodder for fathering a boy with his family's housekeeper and splitting with his wife, Maria Shriver, the 65-year old former bodybuilder will star in no less than three Hollywood movies over the next 12 monthsREUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/Files