I enjoyed The Expendables 3. Please don’t get that statement confused with me saying that it’s a great movie, because it isn’t. But Sly Stallone and his muscly crew brought enough old school skop, skiet en donner action – even with the addition of some new-school talent – for me to leave the cinema satisfied. It sure as hell was no Expendables 2, which was just an absolute riot of laughs and cheesy f–k yeah’s from start to finish, but I was satisfied for that to be the end of the franchise.
That final fate appeared sealed when Lionsgate started revealing the movie’s dismal box office earnings. Whether you blame it on the film’s much publicized pre-release piracy or that they went too PG-13 and lost a chunk of their core audience, the fact is Expendables 3 only brought in a relatively paltry $40 million domestically. That should have been a definitive death knell, but the movie also brought in an additional $166 million internationally, which kept the ember of hope alive for some more ou ballies with guns mayhem.
And now that ember has been fanned up into a proper flame, and once again that enlivening wind is blowing in from the East. Variety is reporting that Nu Image/Millennium has inked a deal that will see both The Expendables 4 and Security (an Antonio Banderas-led action movie that I’ve never ever heard before now) getting backed by China’s SP International Pictures on behalf of SSXH Beijing. The deal will see the films financed – Expendables 4 is being budgeted at $100 million while Security is pegged for $15 million – in exchange for the Chinese distribution rights, as well as having the films perhaps have portions of them set in China. This should really come as no surprise for Expendables as the third film pulled in $78 million from China alone (and we all know how much the Asian market loves movies about roided up dinosaurs destroying property).
At this point there’s no talk about directors or casting yet, but I would not be surprised to see Sylvester Stallone recruiting some Asian action heroes for the next film. The franchise already boasts the talents of Jet Li, but his role has been getting steadily downsized since the first film, and he even got a bit of a send off in the last one, as it was hinted at that his Yin Yang and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Trench Mauser was now hooking up romantically. I’ll pause for a minute while your macho brain processes that last statement.
Jackie Chan was approached about a role in both Expendables 2 and 3 but turned them down at the time. However it appears that he was onboard for a potential Expendables 4 if he could get a more substantial role. With the chance of the film being filmed partially in China, not featuring one of Hong Kong’s biggest action stars of all time in a significant format would be pretty silly.
Franchise frontman Stallone has previously stated that if a fourth film should happen that it would “unequivocally” go back to its R-rated roots, and not take the more wider audience-friendly PG-13 route of Expendables 3 – something which he refers to as a “horrible miscalculation”. It also wouldn’t involve time travel, which I think we are all thankful for.
Last Updated: October 13, 2015