‘The Expendables 3’: Has Stallone’s Action-Packed Formula Become Too Stale?

It’s official: The Expendables 3 is a box office flop.

Although everyone seems to understand that the latest installment in the Expendables franchise is DOA in North America, chances are Lionsgate was hoping the flick could rebound in foreign markets. Unfortunately for Sylvester Stallone and his merry band of AARP-eligible freedom fighters, moviegoers overseas aren’t willing to buy a ticket either.

According to the numbers over at Box Office Mojo, The Expendables 3 has amassed a paltry $21 million at the foreign box office. This pushes its worldwide total to a depressing $44 million as of August 22, a number that probably isn’t making too many people at Lionsgate very happy. Sporting an insanely large cast and a teen-friendly PG-13 rating, the sequel should have easily trumped its predecessors in ticket sales.

At this point, it’s difficult to pinpoint what caused The Expendables 3 to crash and burn at the box office. Are audiences tired of watching a group of over-the-hill action heroes strut their stuff on the big screen? Did the PG-13 rating turn off diehard action aficionados who are still pining for the movies they consumed during the 80s? Or did the Expendables fanbase turn on Stallone by illegally downloading a DVD-quality version of the flick weeks before its theatrical bow? Right now, it’s truly anybody’s guess.

Of course, there’s one bitter pill that some opinionated fans may have a hard time swallowing: The Expendables 3 just isn’t that good. While it’s always fun to watching Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, and the gang kick all sorts of cinematic behind while dodging countless explosions, the latest flick seems to have lost some of its magic. Sadly, The Expendables is losing its shine and its charm. What’s worse, audiences have plenty of other choices available at their neighborhood multiplex.

While this writer enjoyed the admittedly goofy shenanigans found in The Expendables 3, it’s worth noting that I’ll watch just about anything the genre has to offer. Unfortunately for Stallone, casual moviegoers don’t seem too interested in the formula anymore. What was once an enjoyable throwback to the days when macho men with machine guns ruled the box office has become stale and predictable. In short: It’s getting old.

This isn’t stopping Lionsgate from pointing the finger of blame directly at the availability of a near-pristine copy of The Expendables 3 floating around torrent sites. In fact, Torrent Freak recently revealed that the studio is willing to settle with at least one of the sites named in the lawsuit. Whether they have the money to take care of this situation is another case altogether. Downloaders are the scapegoat, but Expendables is the problem.

So let’s wag our fingers and shake our heads at the people who downloaded The Expendables 3 instead of buying a ticket. Shame on them for stealing someone’s hard work. However, let’s also put some of the blame on Stallone’s oversized shoulders. The Expendables franchise has essentially run out of ideas, and the proof is in the numbers. After all, nostalgia and explosions will only take you so far.

[Lead image via Lionsgate]