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Hollywood cashing in on aging action heroes

Mike Cherico

Nothing is over for aging action heroes.

Not for Rambo, not for Sylvester Stallone, not for Arnold Schwarzenegger or many of the aging action stars in Hollywood who continue to snag premium roles on top shelf franchises like "Rocky," "Rambo" or "Terminator."

"These guys are not old, they are timeless and the secret sauce with them is consistency," Gunnar Peterson, celebrity personal trainer to Sylvester Stallone and other older action heroes, told FOX Business. "These guys always stay in shape, they always take care of themselves and that makes it easier to maintain,"

This Friday, when Stallone’s fifth and latest Rambo movie hits theaters, the age-defying Hollywood superstar will be 73 years young, or twice as old as when he starred in the original Rambo blockbuster.

Stallone starred in the first movie about the iconic Vietnam war veteran struggling with PTSD, “First Blood,” in 1982 when the actor, writer and director was only 36 years old.

The Rambo series has continued to delight generations of fans for almost four decades, and the films grossed a combined $727 million at the box office worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Rambo series is not Stallone’s only timeless film franchise.

In 1976, Stallone’s movie "Rocky" won an Academy Award for best picture, and his acting as an underdog boxer earned him an Oscar nomination for the role that he wrote for himself. The "Rocky" franchise, with Stallone on board for the ride, has gone on to bring 8 movies to fans for more than over 40+ years, with a box office gross of about $963 million.

Stallone is not alone. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to turn out "Terminator" films at 72. In November, Schwarzenegger will star in "Terminator: Dark Fate," the sixth film in the franchise that dates back to the 1984 original.

Denzel Washington, at 64, continues to pack in action-lovers too. “The Equalizer 2,” Washington’s 2018 sequel to the original brought in a whopping $190 million in ticket sales.

“Stallone and Eastwood are aging but they are also an inspiration. People go to the movies to see actors they love and that they have grown up with that aren’t giving up or resting with their health," Max Wasa, an actress, stunt professional and producer, told FOX Business.

Clint Eastwood, also known as “Dirty Harry” from the 1971 action movie, has gone from middle-aged cowboy in his crowd-pleasing "Pale Rider” in 1985, to geriatric drug dealer in 2018’s “The Mule.” At 89 years old, the director and movie star is showing no signs of retiring or slowing down.

“They are our idols and they are who we look up to," Wasa said. "Their longevity is due to the fact that people love to see how great they are doing and how well they take care of themselves."

And staying in shape is critical to being able to play an action star, especially one who qualifies for a senior discount.

"These guys always stay in shape, they always take care of themselves and that makes it easier to maintain," Gunnar Peterson, celebrity personal trainer told FOX Business. "Bruce Willis has been training with me consistently for 13 years, and Sly Stallone has worked with me on and off for 20 years."

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It takes a big crew to keep these older stars safe so they do not kill themselves jumping off buildings for movie fans. “Every time you see an older action hero, you have to remember there is a professional team of stunt people behind him, keeping him safe, making him look good,” explains Wasa.

“While it may look like they are doing the stunt, that is not always the case, so you have to give credit where credit is due,” says Wasa.

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