Expend4bles — the fourth entry in the action series starring Sylvester Stallone — opened to a dismal franchise-low $8.3 million this weekend. The third The Expendables sequel couldn't even top the mediocre horror film The Nun II… now in its third week of release.
The law of diminishing returns applies to the awkwardly titled Expend4bles, starring Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy García. 2010's The Expendables ended its domestic run with $103 million. 2012's The Expendables 2 topped out at $85 million domestically. The Expendables 3, released nine years ago, only made $39 million. Expend4bles — which has a reported budget of $100 million — won't even make that.
Expend4bles Slow Start Suggests Nostalgia for '80s and '90s Action Heroes Is at an All-Time Low
The original appeal of The Expendables franchise was getting to see legacy action heroes such as Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and many more team up on-screen like an action-genre Avengers movie. It worked… until it didn't. David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research Critics, tells Variety, “Reviews are poor and audience ratings are dull. The movie was not cheap to make. While ancillary income should be strong, it appears the film will have a hard time getting to profitability after marketing and distribution costs.”
In the official Lionsgate production notes, Expend4bles director Scott Waugh says, “The most fun on this franchise is working with actors who are themselves action icons. We really wanted to raise the bar by getting back to the roots of the original Expendables, while adding some new characters and even more wild scenarios. So, it’s a blend of getting back to the franchise’s roots while taking the action to the next level.”
The official description of Expend4bles reads:
“In Expend4bles, a new generation joins the world’s top action stars for an adrenaline-fueled adventure. Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone are back, leading the irreverent and indestructible team of elite mercenaries who laugh in the face of death. They are again joined by Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture. Armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them, The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table.
Because the Expendables simply refuse to die … until they’re dead.”
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.