As well as a full version of the movie leaking online weeks before it was due to hit theaters, the third installment in The Expendables franchise suffered at the box office by seemingly forgetting the appeal of the entire enterprise. The brand was specifically designed and built as an R-rated, nostalgic throwback to the glory days of action movies, when over-muscled heroes took down entire armies single-handedly.
Assembling the likes of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Snipes, Lundgren, Gibson, Norris, Willis, Statham, Li and Van-Damme across the three entries was like catnip for fans of the genre, but the Expendables essentially neutered themselves when the last entry decided to water down to a PG-13 and bring in some fresher, blander faces in an attempt to broaden the appeal of the franchise to younger audiences.
It didn’t work, and The Expendables 3 ended up becoming the lowest-earning movie in the series yet, making over $100 million less than its predecessor at the box office. Franchise architect Sylvester Stallone admitted in the aftermath that the PG-13 idea wasn’t the wisest move, and that the proposed fourth installment would return to the adult-orientated, violent action that the vast majority of the cast had build their entire careers on.
We’re almost six years on though and despite several of the stars claiming otherwise, we don’t seem to be any closer to The Expendables 4 becoming a reality. However, in a recent interview, Randy Couture said that he has a script for the movie and hopes that it will finally get approved in the early part of this year.
“It is a thing! I got a script last year, and really enjoyed reading it. It was very well done, but where we are on the production scale and getting it moving, I’m not sure. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes with the producer to make a film that big, so I’m hoping this spring we get the green-light, but I’m not hearing anything definitive right now.”
Of course, the former UFC fighter made very similar comments about the status of The Expendables 4 almost two years ago, and the project still isn’t any further forward. It makes sense, too, as the studios are a lot more likely to approve movies that can bring in big box office success and a niche franchise that mostly appeals to diehard fans of 80s action flicks isn’t exactly going to guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Still, we’ve got our fingers crossed that eventually, it’ll see the light of day.