It’s not that Bruce Campbell is a slouch, but the international poster for 1992’s Army of Darkness paints him in a very different picture than how he appears in any of the Evil Dead films. Featuring the knights that battle alongside him below, the ugly visage of “Evil Ash” above him, and a bright red palette all around, the poster seems to have Arnold Schwarzenegger as its Ash rather than Campbell, and according to the man himself that was the intention. “Yeah, producer Dino De Laurentiis had his hands all over that,” Campbell wrote in a response to a tweet about the image. “It’s the foreign poster. He knew that Schwarzenegger sold overseas, so he made me look like Arnold. It’s very silly.”
To his credit, the late Dino De Laurentiis knew what he was talking about having previously produced Conan the Barbarian and its sequel years before Army of Darkness. Did it work though? Not especially. The film brought in just $10 million at the domestic box office while its international haul was just a hair more at $11 million according to records. Though perhaps it landed a minimal return on its budget, the Arnold inspired poster apparently did not translate into ticket sales (perhaps because “Schwarzenegger” wasn’t in bold letters on the poster.
Yeah, producer Dino De Laurentiis had his hands all over that. It’s the foreign poster. He knew that Schwarzenegger sold overseas, so he made me look like Arnold. It’s very silly. https://t.co/uK3cq8DdBY
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) April 7, 2021
For years Army of Darkness was the final note in the franchise too, with the alternate cut of the film’s apocalyptic ending painting a dire picture for the future of Campbell’s character. In fact The Evil Dead would stay out of movie theaters for over twenty years after its release with the reboot/remake, simply titled Evil Dead, debuting in 2013 (though Campbell does have a post-credit cameo where he simply turns to camera and says “Groovy”).
Various comics and video games would be released throughout the years as well but Campbell wouldn’t return to the part that made him famous until the TV series Ash vs Evil Dead which ran on Starz for three seasons from 2015 to 2018.
A fourth film, titled Evil Dead Rise, is set to begin shooting sometime this year. Campbell will seemingly not appear in the movie however, working only as a producer alongside fellow Evil Dead collaborators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert.