March 11, 2014

Expendables: The Expanded Movie Universe?

Ever since Marvel Studios started their domination at the box office, everybody wanted a piece of their cake.

But their success, among appealing to comic book nerds, lies in an unprecedented experiment because they were the first to create a coherent universe in which their movies (and heroes) live.

The model is, of course, taken from the comic book world where it is not uncommon for crossovers to happen on a weekly basis.

You may think that only comic book movies can exist in a shared universe but what about another franchise? This leads us to the idea that The Expendables can become an even bigger franchise by expanding from the core team up films.

Let’s face it: the Expendables movies aren’t really box office gold, at best they make enough money to warrant a sequel and this year even that is questionable, since they open one week after Marvel’s new space movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

So how can they keep making EX moves AND still turn profit?  I propose the idea of making small budget movies about each of the EX team; since most of the actors already work on cheap direct-to-video flicks, why not connect it to a bigger franchise and make money all round?

Take Statham for example: his movies barely break even at the box office yet I’m sure he has a few movies lined up per year where he plays an ex cop/agent/hitman, so why not rework those scripts and instead of that character, just put Lee Christmas.

Introduce Donnie Yen by having him as a brother of Maggie 

Take the recent Homefront: instead of Statham protecting his daughter, it could have easily been Lacey from EX movies and presto, you gotta movie connected to the EX universe that more people would go and see anyway because of all the shared universe craze.

How about an action comedy with Dolph and Terry Crews, where Crews plays a straight man to Dolph’s antics on a mercenary job that just keeps getting worse?

An origin story for Jet Li’s Yin Yang? Jet Li could film that in Hong Kong for pocket money.

Maybe a story that tells us how Hector and Vilain met? Maybe Hector fought against Vilain and then he saw things Vilain’s way and joined him, or Vilain blackmailed him into servitude? I’m sure Adkins and JCVD would love to reprise their roles.

What about a spin-off with Arnold’s team? A way to introduce Donnie Yen by having him as a brother of Maggie who goes missing and he has to find her?

There are infinite possibilities and the best of all, those movies would cost  very little to make. If Millennium/Lionsgate and Sly decide, they can get those talented DTV directors like John Hyams, Isaac Florentine or Ernie Barbarash who know how to make a great looking movie with a very small budget ($10 million per movie, tops) and earn more money to make more movies. $40 million, which is half of the budget for The Expendables could finance 4 movies!

Everybody wins in that situation; studios make money, actors/directors get mainstream exposure and we as fans get new adventures. They could create an entire label around The Expendables that will be a recruitment circle of sorts for action actors. There are a lot of great action actors out there that are stuck doing cheaper than cheap DTV movies, that could use a shot at a bigger movie. And in the end wasn’t that the point of The Expendables? To give second chances to action stars?

So my (unrealistic) hope would be that somebody in Millennium or Sly himself reads this and at least considers the potential that this idea has. Otherwise when Sly decides to stop, The Expendables stop with him and then ten years later is rebooted with The Rock leading a team of Andrew Garfield, Taylor Lautner and Josh Hutcherson. Yeah, that sounds great, right?

If you have your idea for movies that could be a part of the extended Expendables universe, tell us in the comments.

About the Author

Milos Misic



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