So why oh why, especially when we are dealing with a sequel that significantly beats its predecessor in quality, is it so far doing worse then what came before it? I have gathered together several reasons and listed them below in no particular order.
It's a problem that all of Hollywood is facing. Movies are just being recording in theatres and placed online for downloading for those not willing to shell out the coin to see their favourite movies in theatres. Certain movies will always survive despite people doing this, the Expendables franchise DOES NOT fall into that category. If you love these movies, get out from behind your computer and go to the theatre and see it!!
2. SNEAKING IN
In the U.S.A, Expendables 2 has been rated R and the younger generation can't get in to see it without someone over 18 taking them. As a result, they buy tickets for THE BOURNE LEGACY, TIMOTHY GREEN, PARANORMAN....take your pick and they sneak in. Ultimately, Expendables 2 loses ticket sales.
3. QUALITY OF THE FIRST FILM
As fans we love both films so far in this series. A lot of people who were on the fence about the first film saw it, weren't impressed by what they saw and didn't even give a much better sequel a chance. It's sad but likely very true in many cases.
4. QUALITY OF THE COMPETITION
In 2010, The Expendables faced off against Julia Roberts in EAT, PRAY, LOVE and Michael Cera in SCOTT PILGRIM. Neither of those films being an action film that would take away from Expendables. Although in its second weekend, THE BOURNE LEGACY definitely took some of the action crowd away from Expendables 2. If Expendables 2 had waited one more week to release it likely would have saw a larger opening weekend. How much more is debatable. But looking at the competition for next weekend, Expendables 2 should remain on top.
5. THE R VERSUS PG-13 RATING DEBATE
For months here at the site and around the internet, controversy swirled around Expendables 2 and what its rating would be. Fans had just assumed it would be a hard R rating right from the get go and were crushed and outraged when it was revealed by Chuck Norris that Expendables 2 would be going for a PG-13 rating. Sylvester Stallone appeared to back up Norris's claims and many started to campaign to boycott the movie. But in the end, an R Rating did prevail. The question is, did the film still lose viewers along the way? It appears that might have been the case. If Expendables 3 does get rolling, lets hope they are open and honest and DECIDED about the rating from the beginning.
6. WHAT SHOULD THE RATING BE?
In Canada where I'm from, Expendables 2 has a 14A rating, so basically everyone over the age of 14 can see it. If a 14 year old can see it here, does the film have to be toned down that much so a 13 year old can see it in the U.S.A? It's very strange how they come to these conclusions. The violence certainly wasn't toned down in Expendables 2 but I did notice the language was, I don't recall hearing a whole ton of cursing. Maybe Americans should campaign to have PG-13 raised to PG-14, it seems it could help action films with ticket sales!! I know the general consensus is that Expendables films should always be rated R but if 14A gets it done here considering the amount of violence in the film, what's the deal with PG-13? Cursing must be the key to the rating because it clearly isn't violence.
*UPDATE* 7. DARK KNIGHT SHOOTINGS AND BOMB THREAT
As many of you were right to point out in the Comments section, the recent Dark Knight shootings and the bomb threat faced by Expendables 2 in Georgia were also VERY likely contributors to a smaller take for Expendables 2. If people don't feel safe they simply won't go.
So those are my reasons why I believe The Expendables 2 struggled in its opening weekend. In the end, I believe Expendables 2 will turn a profit and we will see Expendables 3 but lets hope the production team takes notice of the issues listed above and can right the ship for a larger profit next time around. Are there anymore reasons you guys can think of?
Expendables 2 FX Video *WARNING* REVEALS A LOT OF FOOTAGE
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