The “Expendables” crew is undertaking their fourth box office mission, as the aptly named “Expend4bles” opens this weekend. The R-rated movie, starring Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone and more kickass action heroes, made $750,000 in Thursday previews at the box office.
The Lionsgate film is expected to open with around $15 million, which would mark the lowest launch of any of the franchise’s entries. Some projections put it at $17 million, beating 2014’s “Expendables 3” ($15.8 million opening). The original “Expendables” is still king, with a $34.8 million opening in 2010, followed by 2012’s “Expendables 2” with $28.5 million. To compare Thursday preview grosses, “Expendables 3” made $875,000 back in 2014.
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The new “Expend4bles” brings back Stallone, Statham, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren, while introducing Megan Fox, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and more into the mayhem. Directed by Scott Waugh, the movie throws the group of grizzled, gun-toting mercenaries into a mission filled with Russian operatives and nuclear warheads.
The film cost $100 million to produce, but is expected to earn solid international sales like previous entries. However, “Expend4bles” reviews have been more excruciating than excellent.
“The plot has almost no twists, except for one big one at the end that can only be called corny,” writes Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman. “And since the action no longer feels rooted in the kamikaze analog aesthetic of the ‘Commando’-meets-‘Cobra’ ’80s, this may be the first ‘Expendables’ movie that doesn’t feel linked to the old Cannon Films spirit of trash taken to the extreme. This is true 21st-century trash: a movie in which the action itself is expendable.”