Mainstream cinema has become so dominated by franchises, sequels, and reboots that it’s easy to see why Lionsgate would give this a go, even after what happened with “Expendables 3.” That movie was PG-13, so why not try going R-rated again and double down with potential appeal by adding newer, relatively younger cast members such as Megan Fox and 50 Cent? It would have seemed like a reasonable enough gamble were it not for that $100 million budget. With that level of investment, this is on course for financial catastrophe.
At this rate, “Expend4bles” would be exceedingly lucky to see a $100 million global finish. It still has a few markets to open in but, quite frankly, the way it’s going, I see it making a lot less than that. Granted, these movies have global appeal and between international sales rights, VOD, cable, Blu-ray, and other revenue streams, the long-term fate of this film has yet to be determined. That said, that $100 million figure does not account for marketing. It is beyond difficult to imagine a world in which this movie ever sees a dime of profit, even after other revenue streams are accounted for. More likely, someone is going to be left holding the bag and will be out millions. This was a grave miscalculation by Lionsgate.
We are far removed from the high this series experienced with 2012’s “Expendables 2,” which earned $312 million worldwide against a $100 million budget. Those returns justify a sequel seven days a week in Hollywood. But after the third entry stalled, it probably would have been best to just let this series die, or make one on the cheap with smaller stars as more of a direct-to-video play. Now though, with this movie’s disastrous performance, it feels safe to say the franchise is good and truly dead. So don’t hold your breath waiting for that “Expendables” TV show.
“Expend4bles” is in theaters now.