With his new series Fubar and limited docuseries Arnold recently hitting Netflix, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back at the forefront of the pop cultural consciousness these days.
The grand marketing machine certainly worked on me, as the presence of Terminator 2 led me to toss on the documentary and I’ve since embarked on a journey through his 80s and 90s filmography.
“You actually relied upon your body to tell the story,” he said. “Dialogue was not necessary. I saw that there was an opportunity because no one else was doing this except some other guy from Austria, who doesn’t need to say much… He was superior. He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character.”
“I had to get my ass kicked constantly, whereas Arnold, he never got hurt much,” Stallone admitted. “And I’m going, ‘Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you’d come back with a Band-Aid.’”
When watching the clip in the context of the documentary, however, Stallone seems to be referencing that Arnold and his natural frame were “superior”, in a general sense, against his movie villains, whereas Stallone — given his relative size — had to be more of a scrapper due to the fact that his frame wasn’t of the same overbearingly intimidating nature, and not that he was the “superior” movie star.
From an objective point of view, Schwarzenegger has 18 movies that grossed over $100,000,00 at the worldwide box office — one of which was Batman & Robin, which I’m mentioning for a reason we’ll get to in a second — while Stallone has 28. That’s quite the disparity when you consider the fact that 10 $100,000,000 films is another billion dollars in earnings. Imagine if Stallone had appeared in Creed III, too ($274M worldwide).
Of Stallone’s 28, however, two of them (his top two highest-grossing, by the way) are Guardians of the Galaxy movies, while another is Antz, an animated film. Interestingly enough, despite his history as a successful businessman, Arnold never tried to cash in on those famously sweet animation paychecks.
From a cultural impact standpoint, however, Arnold might have the upper hand on Stallone, thanks to cultural touchstones like Terminator, Predator, True Lies, and even his performances in films such as Batman & Robin, Twins, and Kindergarten Cop.
Stallone, on the other hand, obviously has the Rocky and Rambo franchises under his belt (and, to be fair, The Expendables — the first of which he directed) but not much after that, while his “B tier” of iconic roles being in films such as Demolition Man, Judge Dredd, Tango & Cash, and Copland.