Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name alone just doesn’t sell tickets like it once did, judging by the poor ticket sales for his post-politics solo movie vehicles (The Last Stand and Sabotage); pair him with other action stars and/or a bankable property, however, and the story isn’t necessarily the same. Arnold’s teamup with Sly Stallone on Escape Plan last year made solid returns at the international box office, and his next two projects – this month’s The Expendables 3 and next year’s Terminator reboot – are likewise expected to perform well (enough) financially.
What’s next for Arnold? The Legend of Conan, assuming that all the pieces fall into place. The project is the developing third installment in the Schwarzenegger-starring Conan the Barbarian film continuity (e.g. not including the 2011 reboot with Jason Momoa). Progress has been slow, but steady, in the time since when screenwriter/producer Chris Morgan (the Fast and the Furious franchise) pitched a story idea for the film that got Universal’s attention.
Screenwriter Andrea Berloff – who penned Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center drama and the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton – was first reported to be actively putting together a Legend of Conan script close to a year ago. Conan the Barbarian franchise producer Fredrik Malmberg recently told The Arnold Fans that the Legend of Conan screenplay is currently being polished, before it’s handed over to studio heads in September; if all goes well, filming will thereafter get underway by Spring 2015.
Things could change, but Malmberg also informed TAF that he doesn’t feel Legend of Conan necessarily needs to be a summer movie release. Rather, it could be released around the winter holiday season – a release frame that has served other fantasy epic properties well (see: Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films), and will be the launch pad for new installments in such sci-fi blockbusters franchises as Star Wars and Avatar, in the years ahead. You can read Malmberg’s actual statement, below.
“… It’s up to Universal to set the date for ['The Legend of Conan'] to be released but personally, I don’t think it has to be a summer movie. I think there’s plenty of examples of big event movies being released in the winter like the Matrix movies and The Lord of the Rings. I can see this being a winter movie as well as a summer movie. The iconic role of Arnold as Conan is so big that it can be year round.”
The Conan the Barbarian property has a mixed box office record; the 2011 reboot, for example, grossed $49 million worldwide on a $90 million budget. However, combine that brand with Schwarzenegger and, as mentioned before, the final result should be able to find a decent-sized audience. Now if the project can secure an accomplished director to serve as helmsman, it’ll be one step closer to becoming both a reality and something special, in the context of Arnold’s general filmography.
We’ll bring you more information on The Legend of Conan as it becomes available.
Source: The Arnold Fans