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Carolco pulls the plug on ''Crusade''

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Okay, here’s your chance to play movie executive: Would you rather see Geena Davis and Michael Douglas in a $70 million pirate epic called Cutthroat Island, or Arnold Schwarzenegger decked out in armor for the $105 million Crusade? Anyone who knows anything about box office would vote for Ah-nuld, but last week Carolco stunned Hollywood by pulling the plug on the 11th- century saga.

According to sources, investors for the company, which has been struggling to reclaim its niche as a major industry player, felt it couldn’t afford to foot the bill on two high-powered action pics. The news came as a surprise to the cast and crew of Crusade, already deep into preproduction.

Carolco denies it picked pirates over knights. One insider pins the blame on Crusade‘s price tag, which was escalating beyond the budgeted $105 million. ”It has zero to do with Cutthroat Island,” he explains. ”It suddenly became clear that Crusade was going to cost more.”

Though Carolco says it has only postponed Crusade, it’s uncertain whether director Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall) and Schwarzenegger will ever see their quest realized.

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