“Expend4bles,” the fourth film in the Expendables series, has met with an unexpected and dismal response from both critics and audiences alike. Released after an extended hiatus since the previous installment in 2014, this action-packed film has struggled to recapture the former glory of the franchise.
The decline in the Expendables’ popularity had already become evident with “The Expendables 3,” which received negative reviews and tepid commercial success. It seemed that audiences had either lost interest in the series or assumed it was a thing of the past.
Leonine Studios CEO Calls for a New Generation of Action Stars
Fred Kogel, the CEO of Leonine Studios and a prominent figure in the German film industry, made a compelling case for the need to rejuvenate the action movie genre during the Zurich Summit. He pointed out that today’s action stars are often compared to the icons of the 1980s, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Tom Cruise. Kogel argued that the magic of those stars lay in their authenticity, as they performed their own stunts, allowing audiences to connect with them on a physical level.
However, “Expend4bles” failed to capture that essence, despite featuring contemporary stars like 50 Cent and Megan Fox. Kogel observed that the closest resemblance to the ’80s action stars today could be found in CGI-laden superhero films, suggesting that it’s time to nurture a new generation of action heroes with the same physicality, looks, and acting skills that made their predecessors unforgettable.
The Changing Landscape of Action Movies
Looking ahead, Kogel remains uncertain about the future of the action genre, particularly due to the influence of streaming platforms. He noted that predicting the industry’s future beyond a few months is challenging. Nevertheless, he believes that successful films in theaters now are those that appeal to broad audiences, not just superhero flicks.
Kogel cited examples like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and the “John Wick” franchise, which have crossed genre boundaries and excited audiences worldwide. These films offer a glimpse into the unpredictable and evolving future of action cinema.
The Decline of the Expendables Franchise
Before delving further into Kogel’s insights, let’s examine the Expendables franchise’s current state. After the initial success of “The Expendables” in 2010, subsequent entries, including “The Expendables 2” and “The Expendables 3,” saw diminishing returns at the domestic box office.
“Expend4bles” fell short of even modest expectations, earning just over $8 million domestically during its opening weekend. The film’s disappointing performance continued in its second weekend, with a nearly seventy percent drop in box office revenue, resulting in a total domestic earnings of slightly over $13.2 million.
Crashing Overseas: A Fading International Appeal
While Expendables films have historically fared better in international markets, “Expend4bles” has not been exempt from the franchise’s declining appeal. Despite earning approximately $23.1 million overseas through its second weekend, the film’s worldwide box office total stands at around $36.4 million, a far cry from the series’ past international successes.
In conclusion, “Expend4bles” serves as a cautionary tale of franchise fatigue and the challenge of resurrecting once-beloved series. Fred Kogel’s call for a new generation of action stars raises questions about the future direction of the action genre. As the industry navigates the evolving landscape of cinema, the fate of action movies remains uncertain.