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Sylvester Stallone just set a box office record he really didn’t want

Life is all about how hard you can get hit and keep moving, and Sylvester Stallone is going to have to pick himself up after this bruising.

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross in Expendables 4

It’s a good job Sylvester Stallone has experience in the boxing ring, because his latest film, The Expendables 4, has taken an absolute battering at the box office.

I don’t like writing mean things about Sylvester Stallone, but when a new movie bombs as hard as The Expendables 4, unfortunately, mean things have to be said. My colleague, Anthony McGlynn, said plenty in his Expendables 4 review, and claimed the franchise was dead and buried at this point.

Now, it seems he was right. The latest box office figures from The Numbers reveal the action movie brought in just $16.7 million domestically, and $50.6 million globally, throughout its disastrous theatrical run, making it the worst performing entry in the whole franchise.

To put that into perspective, The Expendables 3 was previously the lowest-grossing film in the series, but that wiped the floor with the latest. The third movie earned $39.3 million at the US box office and more than quadrupled the new film’s takings worldwide, with a $209.4 million total.

The highest-grossing movie in the franchise remains Expendables 2, which pulled in $85 million domestically and $311.9m worldwide, while the very first film did the biggest numbers in the US with a huge $103 million. What that tells us is, people really don’t give a shit about Expendables movies any more, and the appeal has been declining for a while. Much of that can be linked to the fact that the first films in the series boasted the star power of the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Since their departures, things have gone downhill in more ways than one.

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I mean, is it any surprise, really? What started as a bit of dumb fun has clearly just become dumb now, and this is a franchise that pinned all its hopes of staying relevant on hiring Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson and Megan Fox. The former was a successful rapper 20 years ago and, while he has found success as a producer on shows like Power, I’m afraid he just isn’t a box office draw.

The latter, while she is capable of incredible work (see: Jennifer’s Body), has far more flops than hits in her filmography (see: Jonah Hex). In Expendables 4, Fox doesn’t do her best work, it has to be said, but it’s worth noting that she is absolutely wasted in the role, too.

This latest failure is a really sad indictment of Stallone’s body of work in recent years, too. Aside from successfully reviving the Rocky movies with the Creed trilogy, the legendary actor has seen the likes of Escape Plan 3, Rambo: Last Blood, and Samaritan take a critical hammering in the last five years (though, I did enjoy the latter, as you can see from my Samaritan review). I guess it’s just the way things go for action heroes when they reach a certain stage of their career, but it’s not nice to watch.

Still, at least we’ve seen Stallone join the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, and he’ll always have his legacy as part of the best sports movies of all time. Just promise me, you’ll never make another Expendables movie, Sly, OK? While you’re here, you might be curious about upcoming releases like The Marvels or Avatar 3, which are hopefully safe from being as messy as any Expendables movie.