As I’ve discussed quite a few times in the past couple of years, China’s ability to bolster the box office for Hollywood films just doesn’t exist like it did pre-pandemic. Yes, there are exceptions like “Avatar: The Way of Water,” but that is indeed the exception now. “The Batman” even straight-up bombed in China. This to say, there is no guarantee that Chinese moviegoers will be there to bolster the total this time around. That, coupled with a grim forecast in North America, paints a brutal picture for this $100 million action flick.
Oddly enough, it’s been long enough that “Expend4bles” is entering theaters as something of a legacy sequel. We’ve got the old guard with Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and more. But we’ve also got younger blood with fresh faces such as Megan Fox, 50 Cent, and “The Raid” star Iko Uwais. Maybe it’s been just long enough for certain moviegoers to miss this franchise.
Perhaps the hope is that this can pull a “Jurassic World” on a smaller scale and deliver a huge come-up from the previous entry by offering something for both older and younger viewers. The early indicators don’t point to that happening though. It also doesn’t help that the cast is unable to promote the film while the actors’ guild strikes in the hopes of securing a fair deal from the major Hollywood studios. To what degree that impacts the bottom line is difficult to quantify, but it certainly has an impact.