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"Hero' takes an early bow

Published Oct. 9, 2005

Following in the huge footprints of Jurassic Park, Arnold Schwarzenegger's summer blast Last Action Hero is opening one day earlier than planned with special late showings tonight nationwide.

A dozen Tampa Bay theaters reported their participation in the sneak-peek bonanza to the Times _ 10 fewer than last Thursday's Jurassic Park debut. Most theaters have two showings of Last Action Hero tonight, starting at 9:45 or later. Check movie timeclocks in today's Floridian section for locations and time schedules.

That jump-the-gun strategy paid off handsomely for Steven Spielberg's dinosaur epic last week. Jurassic Park collected an opening-weekend record of $48-million at the boxoffice _ the highest debut total in film history.

Not even Columbia Pictures executives expect Last Action Hero to do as well, faced with the most negative buzz for a big-budget film since Ishtar. One Columbia spokesman gave a conservative prediction of a $20-million weekend gross to lower industry expectations and, hopefully, disappointment.

Last Action Hero is a $65-million fantasy about an 11-year-old boy (Austin O'Brien) who uses a magic movie ticket to join his screen idol Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger) on the silver screen.

The film features Academy Award winners F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus,) Anthony Quinn (Lust for Life,) Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) and Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King).