The Expendables 4 finally hit the theaters last September 22, but it looks like Sylvester Stallone’s franchise experienced a decline in popularity. The charm of the action film did not work its magic after the movie only raked in $8.3 million on its opening weekend.
The star-studded franchise never really earned high critical ratings, but it remains a staple name in the action genre alongside Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible and Keanu Reeves’ John Wick. Both projects have been around for quite some time, and they seem to keep their audiences invested for the long haul. So, what happened to The Expendables?
Is Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables Franchise Slowly Dying?
Fans know that The Expendables movies soared high and gained international attention because of its band of 80s and 90s legacy action stars. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean-Claude Van Damme were some of the high-profile actors who headlined the original films.
In truth, the narrative of The Expendables was not really about creating a web of complex stories or building its own universe through its lore, but it was more about engaging fans through the element of nostalgia. The studio solely relied on the fame and influence of the cast, teamed up old and new generation of action stars, and created a picture saturated with adrenaline-filled action and explosive fight scenes.
While The Expendables 4 promised an exciting revival of the franchise by featuring new faces such as Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson, Jacob Scipio, Tony Jaa, and Iko Uwais, it did not have the same effect as the trilogy films. The fact that Sylvester Stallone also left the project due to creative differences, hence his limited appearance in the fourth film, is proof that The Expendables is slowly losing its shine.
The viewers also experienced loss of interest in the narrative after the franchise’s 9-year hiatus. Between the last The Expendables movie and today’s generation of action films, so much has changed, and there is high demand for fresh concepts.
Tom Cruise’s And Keanu Reeves’ Franchises Modernized Action Films
While new action stars and movies have sprouted over the past decade, two tried-and-tested household names remain relevant: Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves. Both veteran actors managed to revolutionize their own franchises by learning the expectations of their viewers. The public is no longer impressed by mediocre storylines and lackluster acting. They want stories that challenge critical thinking but also deliver high-quality execution.
With Stallone leaving the franchise for good, Jason Statham will take his place as the lead. Without the presence of the Rocky actor, is it even The Expendables? Director Scott Waugh once claimed that he wanted to maintain the brand and return tonally to the original movie. If this is the case, he needs to elevate the narrative and not just the fighting sequences.
There is so much demand for the upkeep of the franchise now that the founding members of the film series are no longer attached to the project. However, at this point, with the disappointing performance of the fourth installment, it seems unlikely that a fifth movie will happen.
The Expendables 4 is now showing in theaters worldwide.