Arnold Schwarzenegger spent decades terminating the environment, at least by his own standards.
The Hollywood superstar lived large as the biggest movie attraction in the world. He puffed on oversized cigars, drove gargantuan Hummers and epitomized the American dream (without limits). He claims he bought a private jet at the height of his fame to avoid being bombarded by fans at every turn.
That was the old Ah-nold.
The 75-year-old version, now starring in the Netflix action-comedy series “FUBAR,” has joined the Climate Change brigade. He uses his celebrity bully pulpit to coax others to reduce their carbon footprint.
And the ex-Governator admits the mission is far from accomplished.
“As long as they keep talking about global climate change, they are not gonna go anywhere. ‘Cause no one gives a s— about that,” he said during a new exchange on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.”
The Climate Change message, he warns, has fallen on deaf ears. Now, activists must pivot to emphasize the pollution part of the equation to change hearts and minds. And he makes a valid point, at least on the former argument.
The news media has hammered home Climate Change alarmism for decades without dramatically impacting how most people view the subject. Reporters have turned eco-activist Greta Thunberg into a quasi-saint, yet polls continually show voters care more about the economy and crime, to name just two examples, than Mother Earth.
Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood chums have done all they can to raise the issue, often with mixed fiscal results.
One of the more successful entries, the 2004 doom-and-gloom thriller “The Day After Tomorrow” nabbed an impressive $186 million.
Netflix’s original film “Don’t Look Up” briefly hit theaters, but it got plenty of views on the streaming giant and earned multiple Academy Award nominations. The comedy even drew a blip of praise from conservatives, all the while getting slammed by select liberal outlets.
Progressives worried Adam McKay’s over-the-top satire was too on the nose for its own good.
No matter where one stands on the issue in play, the 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” rocked the zeitgeist en route to an impressive $24 million bounty.
That’s a huge number for a documentary.
Its follow up, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” crashed and burned with a $3.5 million haul.
Documentaries routinely focus on the subject, but the genre isn’t known for drawing sizable eyeballs … or cash. Still, few films proved as economically futile as “To the End,” a 2022 documentary featuring far-Left Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The documentary earned a pathetic $15K. Chances are few hearts and/or minds were nudged by that film’s theatrical release.
Other climate change-based documentaries, like 2007’s “The 11th Hour,” similarly failed to net more than $1 million theatrically. The 2020 biography “I am Greta” has no financial record at BoxOfficeMojo.com, but its release coincided with the global pandemic.
Children’s entertainment is far from immune to the climate messaging machine. Catherine Winder, a former Lucasfilm executive is plotting new digital content aimed at making kids more aware of climate change.
“Potatoverse” will include short-form animation, Roblox games, podcasts and other output aimed at children and their families to generate positive climate change for a better environment.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Cartoon Network’s Climate Champions efforts also indoctrinate youngster into the eco-alarmism camp. It hearkens back to the “Captain Planet” animated series of the 1990s which also promoted a green agenda between the super-heroics.
Screenwriters likely don’t care if they turn a solid buck with their Climate Change stories. They want to change hearts and minds, and studios regularly ignore the bottom line to do so.
Schwarzenegger also understands the power of pop culture if used properly.
“Facts and figures won’t sell the ticket … If you’re going to sell a movie you can’t talk about how you did the financing or what special effects you used, you have to tell the story, you have to make people go and see the movie, seduce them in.”
It’s either ironic or telling that the aging superstar hasn’t made a Climate Change story all his own up as of yet.
The sad news for Schwarzenegger is his bully pulpit is a fraction of the size it was during his glory days. He’s no longer a box office attraction, and the only project of note that’s drawn respectable eyeballs is “FUBAR.”
Part of this was self-inflicted.
He alienated the Left by becoming a Republican governor, then sold out some right-leaning fans by cursing our freedoms over the pandemic (he later apologized) and joining liberals who maxed out their outrage over the Jan. 6 riots.
Now, he’s busy burnishing his legacy with a three-part Netflix documentary dubbed, what else, “Arnold,” and leaning to the Left to shore up gigs to brighten his fading star power.
He still might fail for other, more pertinent reasons.
It could be that citizens understand some of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint, like expanding nuclear power efforts, rarely get name checked by the Schwarzeneggers of the world. Or that Climate Change activists ignore China’s gargantuan carbon footprint for reasons that make little sense.
The biggest reason citizens tune Hollywood’s Climate Change message out? They’ve seen too many eco-hypocrites, including Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, not practice what they preach.
They may secretly suspect Schwarzenegger is doing the same when the cameras are turned off.