Arnold Schwarzenegger said he'd be back. But not as the Terminator and not until June 18, 1993, when he arrives in theaters in "The Last Action Hero."
According to current studio plans, that means it will open one week before Steven Spielberg's dinosaur epic "Jurassic Park" on June 25.Epitaphs are still being written about the 1992 summer movies, but Hollywood's summer of 1993 is already shaping up.
Scheduling a movie's opening date is always problematic. But when you're dealing with huge investments, the season that has the biggest potential box-office grosses, competitive concerns are compounded.
"You just don't drop a movie onto the scene that stars a box-office draw as big as Schwarzenegger," said one studio executive. "You pick a date for optimum grosses. In the case of `Last Action Hero,' it's clear they're hoping for a `Batman Returns' . . . enough time from the big Memorial Day summer kickoff and out in the market well in advance of the July 4 period."
At the moment, with Columbia Pictures claiming June 18 for Schwarzenegger and Universal Pictures staking June 25 for Spielberg, most insiders believe there will be little incentive for any other company to schedule films on the same dates.
"Right now, the summer looks like an awfully crowded field," said John Krier of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., a company that tracks box-office grosses. "Sometimes there needs to be some breathing room" between the potential hit films. "Where are they going to put them all?"
By next May this may all change due to competitive reasons. But here's a preview . . . for now:
Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the kickoff: Tom Cruise in "The Firm" from Paramount Pictures; Sylvester Stallone in the action-adventure "Cliffhanger," from TriStar Pictures. There are reports that 20th Century Fox might release Philip Kaufman's "Rising Sun" with Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes and Harvey Keitel at the start of summer.
June: The "Super Mario Bros." movie and "Hocus Pocus" from Disney Studios.
June, sort of for sure: Warner Bros.' "Dennis the Menace," based on the comic strip with a cast that includes Walter Matthau, Christopher Lloyd and Joan Plowright, plus Mason Gamble as the fair-haired kid.
Sometime in July: There's talk at Paramount of a July 4 release of "Beverly Hills Cop III" with Eddie Murphy; Columbia is thinking of releasing John Singleton's "Poetic Justice" during the same month that the director's "Boyz N the Hood" opened. Disney's classic "Snow White" also makes a return.
August: There is talk that Columbia may open Clint Eastwood's "In the Line of Fire" about the same time as Warners released Eastwood's "Unforgiven" this year.
Unscheduled, but summer-bound: Fox has "Hot Shots 2," with Charlie Sheen. Disney may release "The Son-in-Law," with Pauly Shore. Universal has "For Love or Money" with Michael J. Fox. Tristar may open "The Killer" with Richard Gere and Denzel Washington. - DAVID J. FOX
- HOLLYWOOD - You won't see any mention of him in the opening or closing credits, but yes, that is Chevy Chase you'll see in Columbia Pictures' upcoming "Hero," starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia.
Behind the bespectacled face and the makeup job that makes his hair look thinner, you can find Chase playing a dominating and demanding news chief of a Chicago TV station, where Davis is a reporter.
"Chevy didn't want billing for the part because he wanted it to be an element of surprise to audiences," said a Columbia spokesman, who likened it to the uncredited performance by Jack Nich-ol-son as a newscaster in "Broadcast News."
"He just wanted to do the part," said his publicist. "It has nothing to do with his reaction to the movie. He hasn't seen the movie yet." - DAVID J. FOX