Star of Decade nod to Arnold

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Action Hero” rocked the house, while the star himself prompted raucous laughter during Columbia Pictures’ opening lunch yesterday at NATO/ShoWest ’93.

Presented with the NATO/ShoWest International Star of the Decade award, Schwarzenegger quipped that among the countless body-building, altruistic and movie awards he has received, “This is without any doubt the most recent.”

The man known to Hollywood simply as “Arnold” later said the media always makes a fuss over his $ 15 million-$ 20 million salaries, which is essentially meaningless once his wife, Maria Shriver, learns about it. “She has already spent half of my salary from ‘Terminator 7,’ ” he said.

Schwarzenegger was the centerpiece of Columbia’s luncheon, which also featured the unveiling of the studio’s new lady with the torch logo. In development for more than a year, the logo will appear on the front of Columbia movies this year.

Columbia was aggressive in outlining projects in pre-production and development, including confirmation that sequels to “Annie,””My Girl” and “City Slickers” are planned for production over the next 24 months. The studio also disclosed production plans for director Barbet Schroeder’s “Before and After,” as well as the Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer “Cold as Ice,” which is being prepped by the Peters Entertainment Co.

In fact, Columbia introduced Peters Entertainment Co. to exhibitors as a major supplier of product, announcing “Cold as Ice” and confirming the previously reported “Gangland: The John Gotti Story” and the Steven Seagal starrer “Fire Down Below” during the presentation.

Studio executive veepee Sidney Ganis said such movies as “A League of Their Own,””Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “A Few Good Men” helped make Columbia the top studio in market share during the second half of 1992. He told exhibitors that Columbia had the top per-film gross last year and that the only reason that Warner Bros. led in marketshare was because it “released more movies.”

During its product reel, Columbia announced that it has moved up release of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” from August to May 14 because of a favorable response at an audience screening last month.

Beyond “The Last Action Hero,” other Col pix that generated exhibitor response were Clint Eastwood’s “In the Line of Fire”; the Ed Harris starrer “Needful Things”; director Harold Becker’s “Malice,” which stars Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman; and James Brooks’ “I’ll Do Anything.”

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