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Hollywood has become all about the franchise business. Between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the expansion of Star Wars, and the fact Harry Potter isn’t finished even though the books are done, the folks who make movies just can’t seem to make one movie when they could make three. That’s fine, trilogies are like a thing. Beginning, middle, end, it makes sense. When you go and make that fourth movie, however, that’s when it becomes more obvious that the goal is not to expand the story but the bank balance. So get ready for the fourth film in a series that was done after the first one. The Expendables are coming back.
According to Variety Millennium Films and Nu Image the production companies behind the first three Expendables films have secured a financing deal with a pair of Beijing-based companies, SSXH and Max Screen. The deal will give Expendables 4 a $100 million budget and will likely result in China being used for some locations on screen. No director or cast have been announced. We’d like to repeat that last bit. They have announced a new Expendables movie without announcing any cast.
The entire point of the Expendables is the cast. There certainly isn’t much of a movie in these things. These movies exist to drag 30 and 40-year-old moviegoers into the theater to see all the great action stars they remember from their teens. Ignoring for the moment the fact that we’ve already seen that happen three times previously, so the gimmick has now become as old as the stars of the movie, but even if you want to see that a fourth time, there’s no guarantee you actually will. While the new film is "expected" to maintain its action star formula, the fact is that this movie will likely move forward, even if they can’t bring the gang back together. At least some of the actors have expressed interest in doing another film, so we don’t expect the movie to be vacant of star power.
We know we sound like a broken record around here but every time we think we have a handle on how big a player China has become in the global entertainment business they just show us how much bigger they are. It’s no accident that this pre-sales deal took place with Chinese companies. These movies have been huge business in China. Expendables 3 bombed something fierce in North America, taking in less than $40 million, but they made twice that in China.
So hey, if you’re one of the few people who’ve been hoping for a new Expendables movie, your wish has been granted. Is there anybody left who hasn’t been in these movies?