The Big Picture
- The fourth installment of the Expendables series, Expend4bles, has received a poor reception both domestically and globally.
- The movie has underperformed at the box office, with a low opening of $8 million domestically and only $21 million internationally.
- Despite having a star-studded cast, including Jason Statham, the film’s cumulative global earnings of $29 million are disappointing in comparison to its production and marketing costs.
It’s as if the entire world collectively decided that the joke is over, and that it no longer finds the Expendables series amusing. While it was becoming increasingly clear over the last decade that the franchise was more attractive to international audiences than domestic crowds, the recently released fourth installment — stylized as Expend4bles — is bucking that belief, despite featuring an ensemble cast designed to appeal to audiences from all corners of the globe.
The movie delivered a franchise-low opening of $8 million at the domestic box office, missing out on the top spot to holdover hit The Nun II, which made around $500,000 more in its third weekend. But Expend4bles is stalling even at the global box office. The movie has grossed only around $21 million from overseas territories, $19 million of which has come from China, where it debuted a week ago. It also opened to just under a million dollars each in the U.K. and Mexico, and grossed around $500,000 in Italy. This puts the film’s cumulative global haul at 29 million.
That’s a low figure for a movie that reportedly cost $100 million to produce, and around $20 million to market amid an industry-wide strike, which is thankfully coming to an end after several months. The strike might have actually impacted the movie’s performance, if you take into account the collective reach that its ensemble cast wasn’t able to leverage because studios were holding out on paying artists a fair wage. But the same issue didn’t seem to effect The Nun II or The Equalizer 3, both of which have done just fine over the last few weeks. Formerly fronted by Sylvester Stallone, who also directed the first installment, the franchise was looking to pass the baton over to Jason Statham, in the wake of his massive success with Meg 2: The Trench.
The Franchise Has Been on a Downward Spiral Domestically
By comparison, The Expendables made more than $30 million in its domestic debut alone, and ended up grossing $100 million stateside and over $260 million worldwide in 2010. Released two years later, The Expendables 2 made $85 million domestically and more than $300 million worldwide, and The Expendables 3, released in 2014, finished with a franchise-low domestic haul of $39 million, but still managed to edge past the $200 million mark globally. Notably, the third film also had to deal with being illegally leaked onto piracy websites just ahead of its release.
The series began as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to old-school action stars, and over the years, has featured the who’s who of the genre in a series of colorful supporting roles. Directed by Scott Waugh, who had another movie out just a couple of months ago, Expend4bles also features Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Megan Fox, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa and Andy Garcia. Stay tuned to Collider for more updates.