It's Hard Out There for an Expendable Action Star: "Bullet to the Head," "Parker," and "The Last Stand" All Bombed

Posted 9:54 PM February 7th, 2013 by Senh Duong
The Expendables 2

Within each of the last three weeks, an action movie starring an action star from “The Expendables” opened to weak results.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback film “The Last Stand” opened to a weak $6.3M on the weekend of January 18-20. After three weeks, it grossed just $11.7M, and looks like it’ll end its run at $12M. With a budget of $45M, it’ll be a huge loss for Lionsgate unless it cleans up overseas, which could happen since Schwarzenegger was the biggest star in the world during his heyday.

A week later, Jason Statham tag teamed with Jennifer Lopez on “Parker,” but the film didn’t do much better than Statham’s recent actioners. It opened to a disappointing $7M. With an unconfirmed budget of just $30M; the only good thing you can say is that it won't lose as much money as the other two films.

This past weekend, Sylvester Stallone unveiled “Bullet to the Head” and couldn’t find an audience. It did even worse than the films from his fellow Expendables stars. It opened to $4.5M; his worst debut in over three decades. With an unconfirmed budget of $55M, Warner Bros. will be seeing red unless, like "The Last Stand," it flexes its overseas muscles.

Reviews for all three films weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible either, especially for action films. On Rotten Tomatoes, “The Last Stand” did 59%, “Parker” did 37%, and “Bullet to the Head” did 47%. Ok, “Parker” is pretty bad, but the other two are passable. Action films, except for the recent comic book adaptations, tend to score in the low 30s and 40s, so I tend to think anything near or above 50% isn’t too bad.

At first, I attributed “The Last Stand”’s dismal opening to Schwarzenegger’s tarnished image, but after two more failures from his fellow action stars, I’m not so sure. Maybe we’re done with old-fashion 80s style action films (and their stars). Maybe audiences aren’t willing to part with $8 for each of them in separate movies, but will if they are part of an ensemble.

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