Box Office: ‘Expend4bles’ Scrapes Up Franchise-Low $3.2 Million Opening Day

Audiences don’t seem to intend to attend the latest “Expendables.” The fourth entry in the ensemble action franchise is notching a series-low opening day from 3,518 theaters with $3.2 million, a figure that includes a meagre $750,000 in Thursday previews.

“Expend4bles” is projecting a debut that’ll fall well short of the $15 million to $17 million range that had been expected heading into the weekend, and also behind the $15.8 million sum that “The Expendables 3” put up nine years ago. The franchise has been sliding since its first entry landed a $34.8 million opening in 2010, followed by the 2012 sequel netting $28.5 million. Millennium Media financed the film, while Lionsgate picked up distribution for the U.S. and U.K. and is looking to squeeze a profit with the flip into digital and VOD, even after a domestic debut this paltry.

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“Expend4bles” is in a close race for first place against the third weekend of “The Nun II.” If it does end up on top, it’ll be leading one of the lowest total box office weekends of 2023. Projections indicate that movie theaters could fall short of the $52.6 million sum that they managed to draw in February on Super Bowl weekend, which was the smallest figure of the year.

Though many action genre staples have shuffled in and out of the “Expendables” bench of players, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham have remained the franchise’s key leads. The pair of stars continue to resonate more strongly with international audiences. “Expend4bles” may hardly be making a dent stateside, fielding terrible reviews and attracting bad buzz from audiences as indicated by the “B-” score through research firm CinemaScore. But the hope is for it to make a bigger splash overseas when global box office figures arrive Sunday, especially with a production budget totaling around $100 million. “Expendables 3” made more than 80% of its $214 million gross in territories outside North America.

Along with Stallone and Statham, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren also return for this “Expendables” outing. Megan Fox, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Tony Jaa and others join the wrecking crew, while Iko Uwais plays the villain. This time, the Expendables hope to use their guns and grit to prevent World War III. Scott Waugh directs.

Competitors are projecting a 46% drop for “The Nun II” in its third weekend. Coupled with its 55% tumble last outing, the Warner Bros. release has been putting up some holds that are slightly but notably stronger than the average horror release. The genre usually faces some sharp tumbles after opening weekend. Total domestic gross for the “Conjuring” spinoff should push ahead of $68 million through Sunday.

Disney’s “A Haunting in Venice” will notch bronze. It’s tracking about the same as Kenneth Branagh’s last Hercule Poirot outing, “Death on the Nile,” which also earned $20 million after its first eight days in North America.

Sony’s “The Equalizer 3” is sliding to fourth place. The Denzel Washington actioner will push beyond an $80 million domestic gross through Sunday.

In its tenth weekend of release, “Barbie” continues to stick around the top five. Now boosted by a limited engagement in Imax theaters, the Warner Bros. smash hit added more than $700,000 on Friday.

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