‘The Expendables’ Blast Away Competition at the Box Office

Jason Statham (left), Sylvester Stallone (centre), and Dolph Lundgren (right) in 'The Expendables'


Testosterone ruled the box office over the weekend, as Sylvester Stallone’s latest action epic ‘The Expendables’ shot to number one at theatres across the U.S..

Despite high-profile competition from romantic drama ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and superhero comedy ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’, ‘The Expendables’ debuted with a stellar $34.8 million, Stallone’s best opening to date.

Likewise, Julia Roberts’ latest star vehicle ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ was also a success, grossing over $23.1 million in second place.

‘Scott Pilgrim’, however, was less fortunate, and bombed with a mere $10.6 million in fifth place.

Featuring an ensemble cast of action stars – including Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, and Arnold Schwarzenegger – ‘The Expendables’ revolves around a group of hardened mercenaries on a mission in South America, where they must overthrow a ruthless dictator and his corrupt CIA accomplice.

However, the task is not as simple as it seems, and before long, they are embroiled in a deadly battle in which they must use all their strength and cunning to survive.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, ‘The Expendables’ was far more successful than recent actioners such as ‘Predators’ and ‘The A-Team’, which opened to $24.7 million and $25.7 million respectively.

Additionally, it more than doubled the gross of Stallone’s previous film ‘Rambo’, which opened to $18.2 million in 2008.

By contrast, long awaited comedy ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ was a major commercial flop, even despite receiving universal acclaim from critics.

A genre-blending mix of action, fantasy, romance, and comedy, the film pairs teen actor Michael Cera with British director Edgar Wright, responsible for previous cult comedy hits such as ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’.

Plot-wise, the film focuses on the titular Scott Pilgrim, an average teen whose life revolves around common interests such as video gaming and his high school rock band. However, when he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the girl of his dreams, Scott must undertake an impossible task. In order to win Ramona’s love, Scott must defeat each of her seven evil ex-boyfriends in combat, all of whom happen to be tyrannical super villains ready to kill any who stand in their way.

A major critical success, ‘Scott Pilgrim’ so far has a score of 80% from over 157 critics on film site Rotten Tomatoes, one of the year’s highest for a live-action film.

However, its critical standing did not translate into box-office appeal, with its 10.8 million start one of the lowest for a major comic book picture.

By comparison, ‘Kick-Ass’, a similar superhero comedy released in May, grossed over $19.8 million in its opening weekend.

According to film site Box Office Mojo, the movie’s performance was adversely affected by its marketing, which neglected older audiences and failed to clearly identify the film’s genre and tone.

Among holdovers, ‘The Other Guys’ and ‘Inception’ both managed to retain positions in the top five.

Falling from its position at number one last weekend, ‘The Other Guys’ declined 51% to $17.4 million in third place.

After two weeks, the film’s total domestic gross stands at an impressive $70 million.

However, ‘Inception’ once again stole the spotlight with a fourth place finish, declining only 39% to $11.3 million.

Like last weekend, the mind bending sci-fi thriller had the smallest decline of all the films in the top ten, raising its total domestic gross to $248.5 million.

Additionally, ‘Inception’ also collected a further $35.9 million internationally, raising its worldwide total to over $565 million so far.

Top Box Office Hits

  1. The Expendables  -  $34.8 million
  2. Eat, Pray, Love  -  $23.1 million
  3. The Other Guys  -  $17.4 million
  4. Inception  -  $11.3 million
  5. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World  -  $10.6 million
  6. Despicable Me  -  $7.0 million
  7. Step Up 3-D  -  $6.9 million
  8. Dinner for Schmucks  -  $6.3 million
  9. Salt  -  $6.2 million
  10. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore  -  $4.2 million

‘The Expendables’ will be released on August 20th in mainland China and August 26th in Hong Kong.

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