It's been over two years since Lionsgate released The Expendables 3, and since then, we've heard a number of different reports about the next follow-up, The Expendables 4. One report even claimed that legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao was being eyed to star in the sequel, but Sylvester Stallone shot down those rumors. Still, it's been quite some time since there has been any updates. Now, the movie is confirmed to be moving forward, with foreign distributor Splendid Film picking up the distribution rights across all of German-speaking Europe, with a release date slated for sometime in 2018. It will be the final sequel for this action franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the German distributor previously distributed the first three Expendables movies, which have earned roughly $30 million combined at the German box office. Even with a German distributor secured, it hasn't been confirmed if Lionsgate will distribute this franchise-ending sequel domestically, like they did with the first three movies. It also remains to be seen if this final film will stop the franchise's downward box office trend, after opening big with the first movie.
2010's The Expendables took in a healthy $103 million domestically and another $171.4 million overseas for a worldwide total of $274.4 million worldwide, from an $80 million budget. Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed and starred in this action-thriller, leading an all-star cast of action icons such as Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Steve Austin. The Expendables 2 followed just two years later, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis getting larger roles after having extended cameos in the first, alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme as the villain. The sequel dropped a bit domestically ($85 million) but increased internationally ($229.9 million) for a worldwide total of $314.9 million, from a $100 million budget.
The last installment, 2014's The Expendables 3, took a big step back, financially at least, which is even more surprising considering they ditched the R rating in favorable of reaching a wider audience with a PG-13 rating. That gamble did not pay off, with The Expendables 3 taking in a franchise low $39.3 million domestically and $175.3 million internationally for a worldwide total of $214.6 million, although the budget figures were not disclosed. This action sequel brought Mel Gibson into the fold as the main villain, with other new additions such as Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford and Kelsey Grammer.
The last we heard about this action sequel was that it was eyeing a 2017 release, and that it may be partially shot in China, with production company Nu Image / Millennium striking a deal with China last October. It isn't known if The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes will return to the helm, or if franchise creator/star Sylvester Stallone will come back to the director's chair. No cast members have been confirmed at this time, but with foreign distributors being lined up, we may hear more on The Expendables 4 soon. Splendid has also acquired the rights to awards season favorite Moonlight, along with a number of upcoming films. Splendid has picked up director Nancy Meyers' Home Again starring Reese Witherspoon and Candice Bergen along with the Speirig Brothers' (Daybreakers, Predestination) horror-thriller Winchester, starring Helen Mirren. The company has also picked up Stoic starring Antonio Banderas and the crime drama Unchained, starring John Malkovich and Adrien Brody.