The Expendables 4 has been in the works for a very long time. The last entry in the series The Expendables 3 released almost a decade ago. Between its PG-13 rating – a switch from the R-rating or The Expendables and The Expendables 2 – and its poor critical and commercial reception, many were not hopeful that The Expendables 4 was not going to happen. Nevertheless, the fourth movie finally entered production in 2021 and wrapped filming in Octoberofficially resurrecting the franchise once more.
Led by Sylvester Stalloneand featuring a cast that included Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and other action movie stars, the Expendables franchise began back in 2010 with the release of The Expendableswhich quickly spawned the 2012 sequel The Expendables 2. The second movie was an even bigger success than the original, and, just as quickly, The Expendables 3 was released in 2014. Here’s why The Expendables 4 took so long to happen.
The Franchise Had to Pause After The Expendables 3
The first two additions to The Expendables franchise were huge successes, and the second film in the franchise was especially popular, becoming one of the biggest box office successes of 2012. The Expendables 3 underperformed and became the lowest-grossing movie of the franchise, particularly in North America. There have been many theories as to why this film underperformed, however, the most widely accepted one was the film was given a lighter PG-13 rating, compared to the previous film’s R-rating, which essentially upset fans of the violence and action- heavy franchise. This ultimately damages the reputation of the film, leading to its poor performance, critically and commercially.
Because of all of this, The Expendables 3 is generally regarded as the weakest addition, particularly since it had a cast that had grown too large and lacked in direction in its plot. This immediately put a pause on discussions about The Expendables 4 as the financial loss from the third film presented a liability for the studio. This step-back from the franchise allowed the Expendables team to ultimately reflect on the franchise as a whole, its successes and failures, in order to better understand how they could move forward successfully.
They Wanted to Build Anticipation
The success of The Expendables has always been rooted in its ensemble cast and its ability to build hype in the audience. The Expendables 4 has worked on this by announcing new faces, such as Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais, that have overall increased anticipation levels. They are both excellent martial artists who have found success in films such as Headshot. Fans of action films and cinema in general will feel heightened anticipation from these additions. After the poor performance of the previous film, anticipation is one of the best things the production could do to ensure they do not repeat previous mistakes, making their moves after careful consideration and not rushing the project in order to make monetary targets.
They Wanted to Make Sure the Cast and Story Were Right
After much anticipation, The Expendables 4 was announced with a release date in 2022. One of the most important considerations that had to be made was that casting had to be right. Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will reprise their roles, while Tony Jaa has been cast in an undisclosed role. The plot will primarily revolve around Statham’s character, Lee Christmas. The production budget is reported to be $ 70 million.
Of course, the threat of the long-awaited time for the newest addition in the franchise is that the filmmakers could potentially be in the position that put them in trouble in the first place, riding on a wave of nostalgia and no real direction for the plot to go in. With the new additions, we hope that the right considerations have been made for the casting and writing, which, in turn, means that the new film could certainly be a success.
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