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Why Expendables 4 Already Has The Perfect Gimmick To Reinvent It

The Expendables 4 is moving ahead with much of the original cast returning, and it has a built-in gimmick to revive the series after being dormant for so long. The Expendables first kicked off in 2010 with an action-hero ensemble as a trip down memory to the 80's and 90's action movie golden age. Despite growing in popularity with The Expendables 2, The Expendables 3 underperformed due to being the first PG-13 installment of the series, leaving The Expendables on ice until now.

Jason Statham's Lee Christmas will reportedly take the lead of The Expendables 4, while Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are also returning. In addition, 50 Cent, Megan Fox, and Tony Jaa are boarding the upcoming sequel. While fans of the series are surely eager to see it finally return, particularly with Thailand's legendary Tony Jaa joining up, The Expendables 4 has a few factors working against it that it will need to meet head-on.

Related: Why The Expendables 4 Just Cast Megan Fox & 50 Cent

For starters, there's the fact that it'll be coming off the disappointing performance of The Expendables 3, which marked a commercial low point for the series and turned the most devoted segments of its audience off with its PG-13 rating while failing to pull in younger viewers. Stallone himself has called the rating a "horrible miscalculation," so it's doubtful that The Expendables 4 will be rated anything but R. Because of the bottom falling out on The Expendables 3, by the time The Expendables 4 arrives, the series will have been quiet for at least eight years by the time it's released. While the first two movies were big hits, the franchise never soared to Fast & Furious levels of box office success, while the John Wick franchise now represents a real rival as an action series. However, The Expendables 4 has a hook to help work around these issues with Lee Christmas, who by himself can make the next Expendables a Christmas movie.

With The Expendables 4 set to shift the main spotlight from Stallone to Statham, the working title is reported to be A Christmas Story. Holding onto that as a post-colon subtitle, with or without the 4, would help set the new Expendables up as something new for the series, with Statham's second lead now front and center. Moreover, The Expendables 4 can take this even further by not only releasing during the holiday season but also by being, a la Die Hard, an explicitly Christmas-themed action movie.

Doing that would make The Expendables 4 more than just the fourth movie in the series or a comeback after a nearly decade-long absence. The Expendables 4, aside from possibly being a mantle passing to Stathamcould be positioned with a seasonal theme similar to the nostalgic angle the series began with. Essentially, the trailers and marketing would move beyond "The Expendables are back" to "The Expendables are home for the holidays." With Lee Christmas as the primary lead of the fourth film, it'd bring multiple new elements to the table, to say nothing of the marketing puns Lee's name offers for that time of year. For The Expendables 4 to make a comeback for the series, some seasoning is needed. A Lee Christmas-led Expendables released in and set during the holiday season is sitting right there for it, and the cherry on top of it all - unlike the yearly debate over Die Hard's qualification as a Christmas movie, The Expendables 4 would face no such Yuletide scrutiny.

More: The Expendables Spinoff Is Better For Stallone Than A Fourth Movie

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