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WASHINGTON – Hollywood legend Bruce Willis’ latest entry in the “Die Hard” franchise took No. 1 in the box office over the weekend, bucking a trend of flops by his “Expendables” co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
Both Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s recent box office woes came after they labeled the Second Amendment “expendable.”
In contrast to Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Willis, starring in “It’s a Good Day to Die Hard,” had come out in defense of the right to bear arms as Democrats in Washington propose unprecedented restrictions on guns.
Debuting in theaters Feb. 13, “A Good Day to Die Hard” – the fifth installment in the series – has taken in a total of $38.3 million domestically, with another $79.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $112 million.
The movie made more in its opening week of release domestically ($33 million) than Stallone’s “Bullet to the Head,” which debuted Feb. 1, and Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand,” which came out Jan. 18, combined.
“Bullet to the Head” has made $8.9 million. “The Last Stand” has netted $11.9 million.
Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis, three of Hollywood’s biggest stars, owe much of their box office success to action characters who brandish firearms.
They came together in the 2010 “Expendables” and the 2012 “Expendables 2” movies, which served as a nostalgic, campy homage to their respective “Rambo,” “Die Hard” and “Terminator” pasts.
However, Stallone and Schwarzenegger have each made a point of advocating gun-control legislation as they promote their latest films.
While pitching “The Last Stand,” Schwarzenegger dismissed criticism of the impact of gun violence in films while asserting “no stone should be unturned” when it comes to addressing the problem.
“I personally feel that this is entertainment,” said Schwarzenegger. “The other thing is a serious real life tragedy. I think that we are going to continue doing entertainment. That is what we are doing as our profession, but at the same time, we all have a responsibility, I think, to improve the situation that we are in.”
Willis’ new movie trailer:
Schwarzenegger said it's important not to stigmatize mental illnesses. He also cited parenting, education, security and gun laws as contributing factors to gun violence.
"We as a society have the responsibility to look at this and leave no stone unturned," he said.
How did “The Last Stand” do at the box office opening weekend? With a production budget of $45 million, it made $6 million.
As for Stallone, in his promotion of the action film "Bullet to the Head" he came out forcefully in favor of gun restrictions: He says that despite his "Rambo" image and new shoot-'em-up film, he's in favor of new national gun-control legislation.
Stallone supported the 1994 Brady bill that included a now-expired ban on assault weapons and hopes the ban can be reinstated.
"I know people get (upset) and go, 'They're going to take away the assault weapon.' Who … needs an assault weapon? Like really, unless you're carrying out an assault. … You can't hunt with it. … Who's going to attack your house, a (expletive) army?"
How did "Bullet to the Head" do at the box office its opening weekend? It misfired, bringing in a paltry $4.5 million.
By comparison, "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!" – a Stallone comedy from 1992 – made $7 million its opening weekend.
Willis, starring in the fifth installment of the "Die Hard" franchise, "A Good Day to Die Hard," had a much different take on the Second Amendment and gun rights than his "Expendables" co-stars.
He opposes new gun-control laws that could infringe on Second Amendment rights.
"I think that you can't start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it's all going to become undone," he said. "If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?"
WND movie reviewer Drew Zahn recently wrote of the production, "The movie itself is fairly entertaining, as far as action films go, and does attempt to have a heart, but it falls short of being memorable for its lack of real attention to building a compelling story."
See an AP interview with Willis: