The Expendables (franchise)

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The Expendables
Official franchise logo
Based onCharacters created
by David Callaham
StarringSee below
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
Running time
342 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$272 million
Box office$804.1 million

The Expendables is an American ensemble action thriller franchise spanning a film series and additional media, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and originally created by David Callaham. The film series itself was created to pay homage to the blockbuster action films of the 1980s and '90s and also pays tribute to the action stars of those decades, as well as more recent stars in action. The series consists of three films: The Expendables (2010), The Expendables 2 (2012) and The Expendables 3 (2014), with a fourth film scheduled to be released in the future. The series has received mixed critical reception, in regard to its plots and dialogue between the characters; however, many critics praised the use of humor and action scenes. The films have been box office successes.


Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Original series
The Expendables August 13, 2010 (2010-08-13) Sylvester Stallone David Callaham and Sylvester Stallone David Callaham Avi Lerner, John Thompson and Kevin King-Templeton
The Expendables 2 August 17, 2012 (2012-08-17) Simon West Sylvester Stallone and Richard Wenk David Agosto, Ken Kaufman and Richard Wenk Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Kevin King Templeton and Les Weldon
The Expendables 3 August 15, 2014 (2014-08-15) Patrick Hughes Sylvester Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt Sylvester Stallone Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Kevin King-Templeton, Les Weldon and John Thompson
The Expendables 4 TBA TBA Gregory Poirier[1] and Sylvester Stallone[2] Avi Lerner and Sylvester Stallone[3]
Spin-off film
The ExpendaBelles TBA Robert Luketic Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith Avi Lerner, Mark Gill, Julie Kroll, Boaz Davidson and Kevin King

Original series[edit]

The Expendables (2010)[edit]

The Expendables, a group of elite mercenaries who carry out all sorts of missions, ranging from assassination to rescue, are deployed to a South American island, Vilena, to overthrow a Latin American dictator, General Garza, who is interfering with the plans of a group of "people" led by a man known only as Mr. Church. However, the team leader, Barney Ross, soon realises that Garza is merely a puppet being controlled by a ruthless rogue CIA officer, James Monroe, who is Mr. Church's real target.

The Expendables 2 (2012)[edit]

A while after the first film, the Expendables accept another mission from Mr. Church to make up for losses caused by the mission in Vilena, but they end up in a conflict with a rival mercenary group, the Sangs, and their newest and youngest member is murdered by their leader, Jean Vilain. Ross swears vengeance on Vilain for his protegé's death and starts to track him down, in the process learning that Villain threatens the world with five tons of weapons grade plutonium he intends to excavate from an abandoned Soviet mine and sell to the highest bidder.

The Expendables 3 (2014)[edit]

The Expendables come face to face with the team's co-founder Conrad Stonebanks. Ross was forced to kill Stonebanks after he became a ruthless arms trader, but Stonebanks survived and has now made it his mission to destroy The Expendables. Ross resorts to recruiting a new and younger generation of Expendables to help the team overcome his old adversary.

The Expendables 4 (TBA)[edit]

In March 2014, Pierce Brosnan stated that he had agreed with Avi Lerner to star in an Expendables 4 film, but added that he was not sure which one he would appear in, saying "I have no idea which one it would be, I just said yes.".[4] Stallone revealed his first choice for the villain was Jack Nicholson.[5] The Expendables 4 will retain the R-rating.[6] In December 2016, Stallone announced in an interview that the fourth installment will be the last in the series and was originally set for a 2018 release date.[7] In March 2017, it was announced Stallone would be leaving the franchise due to disagreements over the script and direction of the franchise.[8] In April 2017, supporting star Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will not be returning for the fourth film without Stallone. After Avi Lerner threatened Terry Crews over his sexual assault lawsuit against Adam Venit, Terry Crews chose not to star in the film.

By January 2018, Stallone announced the development of another Expendables movie on his social media page, confirming his return to the film series.[9] Ji Chang-wook confirmed his involvement, in August of 2018.[10] The film was originally scheduled to begin production by April 2019, though in July of the same year Stallone announced he was beginning to work on the project.[11][12][ji chang wook 1]

Spin-off film[edit]

The ExpendaBelles (TBA)[edit]

In October 2012, Millennium Films, announced plans for an all-female version of the film titled The ExpendaBelles. The spin-off film will reportedly be co-written by Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, while Avi Lerner, Mark Gill, Julie Kroll, Boaz Davidson, and Kevin King[13] will serve as producers. The film will be a joint production between Millennium Films, Eclectic Pictures, and Summertime Entertainment.[14]

By the following year, Lerner was negotiating with actresses Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz and Milla Jovovich to star in the film.[15] In February 2014, Deadline reported that Robert Luketic was signed on to the project as director, while Stallone has stated that he is not involved with the spin-off.[16] By August of the same year, the studio released an updated synopsis for the film as:

The Expendables universe has a new team. An elite group of highly trained female mercenaries are brought together for a covert hostage rescue mission. Once they are behind enemy lines, the women discover that they will also need to topple an evil dictator bent on world domination. It becomes clear there is no such thing as the right man for the job. The Expendabelles is the ultimate story of female empowerment and kick-ass teamwork.[17]

All studios involved had intended to begin production early-2015.[18]

Television series[edit]


Beginning in May of 2012, Lionsgate began developing plans for a television spin-off of the film series.[19] In March 2015, it was announced that the franchise will expand, with a television event series in development. The project will be a joint-production between CBS Television Studios, Lionsgate Television, Shane Brennan Prods., and Rogue Marble Productions. Shane Brennan has signed on as creator, producer and showrunner; as well as serving as co-writer with Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward. Stallone will serve as executive producer alongside Avi Lerner, Kevin King, Grant Anderson, and Brennan. The plot of the series was announced to feature a new team of Expendables, composed of 'iconic television stars', who are on a mission to stop dangerous terrorists.[20][21]

Originally scheduled to air on Fox network, beginning in June of 2016 the series was being shopped around to other networks and streaming services.[22]

Cast and crew[edit]


Character Original series Spin-off film
The Expendables The Expendables 2 The Expendables 3 The Expendables 4 The ExpendaBelles
2010 2012 2014 TBA TBA
Barney Ross Sylvester Stallone  
Trent "Trench" Mauser Arnold Schwarzenegger  
Lee Christmas Jason Statham  
Toll Road Randy Couture  
Yin Yang Jet Li TBD  
Gunner Jensen Dolph Lundgren TBD  
Hale Caesar Terry Crews  
Mr. Church Bruce Willis  
Tool Ross Mickey Rourke  
Sandra Garza Giselle Itié  
James Munroe Eric Roberts  
Dan Paine Steve Austin  
Booker   Chuck Norris  
Billy "The Kid" Timmons   Liam Hemsworth  
Maggie Chan   Yu Nan  
Jean Vilain   Jean-Claude Van Damme  
Conrad Stonebanks   Mel Gibson  
Max Drummer   Harrison Ford TBD  
Galgo   Antonio Banderas TBD  
Doctor Death   Wesley Snipes TBD  
John Smilee   Kellan Lutz TBD  
Luna   Ronda Rousey TBD  
Thorn   Glen Powell TBD  
Mars   Victor Ortiz TBD  
Bonaparte   Kelsey Grammer TBD  


Film Crew/Detail
Composer(s) Cinematographer Editor(s) Production
Running time MPAA rating
The Expendables Brian Tyler Jeffrey Kimball Ken Blackwell and Paul Harb Millennium Films
Nu Image
103 minutes R
The Expendables 2 Shelly Johnson Todd E. Miller 103 minutes
The Expendables 3 Peter Menzies, Jr. Sean Albertson & Paul Harb Millennium Films
Nu Image
Splendid Film
126 minutes PG-13
The Expendables 4 TBA TBA TBA Millennium Films
Nu Image
Balboa Productions
TBA R[23]
The ExpendaBelles TBA TBA TBA Millennium Films
Eclectic Pictures
Summertime Entertainment


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Rank Budget
North America Other territories Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
The Expendables[24] August 13, 2010 $103,068,524 $171,401,870 $274,470,394 636 473 $80 million
The Expendables 2[25] August 17, 2012 $85,028,192 $229,947,763 $314,975,955 835 391 $100 million
The Expendables 3[26] August 15, 2014 $39,322,544 $175,335,033 $214,657,577 2,033 655 $90 million[citation needed]
Total $227,419,260 $576,684,666 $804,103,926 $270 million

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Expendables 42% (203 reviews)[27] 45 (35 reviews)[28] B+[29]
The Expendables 2 68% (130 reviews)[30] 51 (28 reviews)[31] A-[29]
The Expendables 3 32% (167 reviews)[32] 35 (35 reviews)[33] A-[29]

The Expendables received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 42% approval rating based on reviews from 203 critics, with an average rating of 5.28/10. "The website's consensus states: It makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, The Expendables should hit harder."[27] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the film has received a mean score of 45, based on 35 reviews.[28] CinemaScore polls reflect solid audience approval with a B+ average grade.[34]

The Expendables 2 received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 68% approval rating from 130 critics, with an average rating of 5.84/10. The website's consensus states: "Taut, violent, and suitably self-deprecating, The Expendables 2 gives classic action fans everything they can reasonably expect from a star-studded shoot-'em-up — for better and for worse."[30] Metacritic gave it a score of 51 (out of 100) from 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[31] CinemaScore polls reported that moviegoers gave the film an average grade of A– on an A+ to F scale, compared to The Expendables' B+.[35][36]

The Expendables 3 received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 32% rating based on 162 reviews with an average rating of 4.85/10. The site's consensus reads "Like its predecessors, The Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados — but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun".[32] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on reviews from 35 critics.[33]

Other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

The Expendables 2 Videogame is a downloadable four-player cooperative shoot 'em up video game. It was published by Ubisoft for PC, PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and released on July 31, 2012 for PSN and August 20 for PC (via Steam) and XBLA. The game's plot is a prequel to The Expendables 2, with Barney Ross, Gunner Jensen, Yin Yang and Hale Caesar appearing as playable characters. Lundgren and Crews voiced their respective characters. According to review aggregates Metacritic and GameRankings, the game received generally negative reviews.

The Expendables 2: Deploy & Destroy is a single-player tower defense, real-time strategy online game. Published by Roadshow Films and Soap Creative, the game was released on July 13, 2012. Its plot was derived from village scenes in the film, where players can choose their squad from the cast, set up defenses and battle the enemy.

A standalone expansion of the game Broforce was based on The Expendables 3. Entitled The Expendabros, it was released in August 2014. Later, The Expendabros expansion became free to play in order to promote The Expendables 3 and remained so until December 31.[37][38]


In 2010 Chuck Dixon wrote a four-issue miniseries based on the movie The Expendables. Published by Dynamite Entertainment, the comic, titled The Expendables, featured artwork from Esteve Polls and was a prequel to the movie.[39][40]

In 2011 Leo Ortolani created La Quadrilogia dei Sacrificabili, a parody of the movie The Expendables,[41][42] that won the award "Fede a strisce 2011" at RiminiComix.[43][44]

Bollywood remakes[edit]

In May 2013, Original Entertainment confirmed to have sealed a five-picture deal with Millennium Films to produce Bollywood remakes of First Blood, The Expendables, 16 Blocks, 88 Minutes, and Brooklyn's Finest, with the productions for First Blood and The Expendables expected to start at the end of that year.[45]


  1. ^ ji chang wook


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  7. ^ Roxborough, Scott (December 20, 2016). "Splendid Takes 'The Expendables 4' for German-Speaking Europe". The Hollywood Reporter.
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  12. ^ wegotthiscovered (June 9, 2018). [jackie chan "The Expendables 4 Locked In For An April 2019 Production Start"] Check |url= value (help).
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  14. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (October 12, 2012). "'Legally Blonde' Writers Hired For 'Expendabelles' Spinoff - Deadline". Deadline Hollywood.
  15. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (October 25, 2013). "'ExpendaBelles' Cast Talks? Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich - Deadline". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (July 13, 2016). "Sly Stallone Denies Involvement In Female 'Expendables' Spinoff". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  17. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (February 6, 2014). "Berlin: Robert Luketic To Helm Millennium's 'The ExpendaBelles'; Who Should Star?". Deadline Hollywood.
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  37. ^ Jorge López (August 6, 2014). "Noticias broforce: Broforce muestra su nueva expansión, The Expendabros". IGN España.
  38. ^ "Steam Community :: Group Announcements :: Broforce". August 7, 2014.
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External links[edit]