'Terminator' is back, but can Schwarzenegger still pull crowds?

Wed Jul 1, 2015 4:14pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "I'm old. Not obsolete," says Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator defiantly, three decades after his humanoid cyborg assassin first stormed onto the big screen.

But after an eight-year stint as California's governor, has Schwarzenegger, 67, still got the muscle to pull in the crowds in the role that cemented his international movie star status?

"Terminator: Genisys," in movie theaters on Wednesday, sees the action star return to the franchise that has grossed $1.5 billion globally from four films, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

"It was really a big surprise for me when I got a phone call a month after I was finished with the governorship, 'Hey Arnold, do you want to still be the Terminator?'" Schwarzenegger told Reuters.

After his 2003-2011 stint as California governor, Schwarzenegger has struggled to make a major box office impact especially with younger audiences who may have been babies when he was in his heyday.

"Terminator Genisys," made by Paramount Pictures for an estimated $155 million, is expected to open over the U.S. Independence Day weekend with upwards of $50 million over five days in North American theaters, according to box office trackers Rentrak.

That compares to the record-setting $208 million domestic opening for Universal Pictures' "Jurassic World" over three days in June, and a $91 million weekend opening last month for Pixar's animated "Inside Out."

In the past four years, Schwarzenegger's biggest role was alongside Hollywood's aging heroes in Sylvester Stallone's "Expendables" trilogy. Those films have grossed about $790 million globally, drawing bigger crowds internationally than in North America. His other movies were mostly small, independent fare.   Continued...

Cast member Arnold Schwarzenegger poses by a Terminator replica at the premiere of "Terminator Genisys" in Hollywood, California June 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni