Franchises come and go in Hollywood these days, but at least one such franchise will get a proper swan song – and that’d be the team of mercenaries who forgot the 1980’s are long forgotten.
The Hollywood Reporter announced that German-based Splendid Films has acquired the rights to The Expendables 4, officially hitting theaters sometime in 2018. At this time no director, screenwriter, or cast has been announced but the budget is expected to be $100 million, the same as the previous installments. Initially Lionsgate was hoping for the final film to begin lensing in late 2015. However, the project was placed on indefinite hold due to Sylvester Stallone’s inclusion in Creed, landing him several award nominations for his return as Robert ‘Rocky’ Balboa. Stallone segued into Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2 thereafter but has since circled back to pre-production on The Expendables 4.
The franchise, envisioned by Sylvester Stallone and David Callaham back in 2010, has had three total entries to date, each with diminishing domestic returns. The films, however, attract a far larger audience overseas and have propelled the franchise to continually double each film’s budget. (The Expendables 2, made for $100 million, grossed $314 million worldwide. The Expendables 3, with a $100 million budget, squeaked out a $214 million haul.) The returns on the last sequel can be centered on the anemic PG-13 rating demanded by Chuck Norris, who would then withdrawal from the second sequel prior to shooting. Stallone, thankfully, is already on record indicating that the next installment would be a hard-R rating and return to its high-0ctane shenanigans.
The films have centered around a team of rough-and-tough mercenaries lead by Barney Ross (Stallone) and Lee Christmas (Jason Staham), who are hired out by the CIA to do the dirty work the government cannot sanction lawfully. The cast combined through all three films has included the likes of Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Harrison Ford.
Here’s hoping that the grand finale can manage to have the right cast without overindulging in 1980’s nostalgia. For reference sake, enjoy a clip below and pray Stallone can bring back these types of hi-jinks one last time. The Expendables 4 will release in 2018.