Lionsgate/Millennium’s “Expend4bles” isn’t doing much to stop the slide in overall grosses that the box office has seen over the last two weeks. The action sequel is set to earn a franchise-low $8 million opening from 3,518 theaters after a $3.2 million opening day.
Pre-release projections had the film earning around $15 million this weekend, similar to what “Expendables 3” earned in 2014. It’s possible that not having lead star Sylvester Stallone or the rest of the cast for this ensemble action film around to promote the film due to the SAG-AFTRA strike contributed to the lower numbers.
But strike or no strike, “Expend4bles” isn’t getting strong reception. The film was panned by critics with a 16% Rotten Tomatoes score while audiences gave the film a B- grade on CinemaScore, the lowest for the series. Lionsgate only paid for North American and U.S. distribution rights.
“Expend4bles” may not even take No. 1 at the box office as its low opening has put Warner Bros./New Line’s “The Nun II” within striking distance of keeping the top spot for a third weekend. Industry estimates have “Nun II” earning $7.9 million in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to $68.7 million.
Overall grosses are estimated to only reach $50 million this weekend, down 20% from last weekend’s poor $62.8 million and only slightly better than the year-low $47.8 million recorded on Super Bowl weekend.
Theaters should see ticket sales rebound starting next weekend thanks to a variety of new releases, including Lionsgate’s “Saw X,” Paramount’s “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” Disney/20th Century’s “The Creator” and the wide expansion of Sony/Columbia’s “Dumb Money.”