Despite the fact that The Expendables 3 was the action franchise’s lowest box office take on both domestic and international stages, a fourth installment is expected to go into production next year. The Expendables 4 will reportedly have a budget north of $100 million when it starts filming in 2016 with an eye on a 2017 release date. No directors or cast members have been announced just yet, but the movie is expected to keep the all-action star trend seen in the previous three pictures.
Variety reports that The Expendables 4 is a go after a series of deals were finalized between Nu Image / Millennium and Steven Paul’s SP International Pictures on behalf of SSXH Beijing and Max Screen Film Distribution. The deals, which also include Nu Image / Millennium’s Security, cover equity investments in both films along with Chinese distribution rights. Chinese locations will be available for shooting some scenes, but it doesn’t look like these will be considered full co-productions since there might not be enough Chinese elements involved.
China was responsible for $78 million of The Expendables 3‘s franchise low of $206 million; the domestic contribution was also a franchise low at $39 million. In other words, it makes sense to secure Chinese investment ahead of time for a fourth film especially as all signs point toward the Chinese and international markets as those most interested in another round of Expendables. Why are they so successful in China? As Paul says:
“What seems to work in their favour in China, is that these movies are good old-fashioned shoot ’em up entertainment.”
Despite rating the most recent film PG-13, presumably to capture a wider audience, The Expendables 3 performed relatively poorly; perhaps we’ll be going back to an R rating in The Expendables 4.
Security, by the way, is about to start production in Bulgaria with Alain Desrochers directing and Antonio Banderas and Ben Kingsley starring. The action-thriller follows a security guard who protects a woman targeted by a gang for participating as a trial witness.