The weekend box office numbers are back and the numbers don’t lie: TheExpendables 3 is an epic failure. The news may seem obvious to some; after all, how many times can a studio release a movie whose main appeal is gathering aging action stars and making us pay for the novelty of watching them on screen together long past their prime? Not long it seems. According to Variety, The Expendables 3’s box office take dropped off by 58 percent in it’s second week, totaling just over $6.5 million.
It’s really the degree to which The Expendables 3 is failing that is the surprise. Prior to its release, The Expendables 3 was projected to take in $20 million to $25 million during its opening weekend based on market tracking. Instead, the film managed to rake in only $15.5 million. To put that in perspective, The Expendables 2 took in $28 million it’s opening weekend in 2012. The discrepancy, which is one of several this summer, prompted Deadline Hollywood to question the validity and reliability of movie tracking.
The fact that The Expendables 3 tanked is really no surprise, but the reasons it tanked may be. As reported in The Inquisitr, there are several potential reasons, each as likely as the other to be the culprit. Franchise fatigue is a real concern as is the fact that The Expendables 3 is the only film in the series to be rated PG-13. The Expendables 3 is generally agreed to be the worst film in the series, with a rating of only 34 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Expendables only has a 41 percent rating, but it had the bonus of being the first movie to group so many action stars together at one time.
The most interesting of the potential causes for the failure of The Expendables 3 is the one being pushed by those connected to the film. According to The New York Post, Lionsgate, the distributor of The Expendables 3, is blaming the failure on piracy. Specifically, a high quality copy of the film that leaked on the internet weeks before the theatrical release. Lionsgate is taking the piracy so seriously that they have filed lawsuits to get websites carrying the pirated copy of the movie taken down and perhaps recoup some of the $100 million they spent on production of The Expendables 3.
Lionsgate may have a point. WhatCulture recently released a list of five film flops that were blamed on piracy. On the list is Ang Lee’s The Hulk, the 2003 adaptation of the Marvel Comic. Also on the list are X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Hurt Locker.
Whether from piracy, apathy, or poor quality, The Expendables 3 will likely be out of theaters soon without having recouped it’s budget.