The driving force behind the hit "Expendables" films has exited the franchise.
Deadline reports Sylvester Stallone has departed the very film series he helped to launch because of differences with producer Avi Lerner, co-fouder of Nu Image and Millennium Films. The two reportedly couldn't reach an agreement on a script, director or visual effects company for the planned fourth installment of the action franchise.
"The Expendables," which was co-written and directed by Stallone, surprised when it debuted in 2010, pulling in a healthy $274 million worldwide on a production budget of $80 million. The 2012 sequel increased its budget to $100 million, and grossed $314 million worldwide. Unfortunately for the franchise, the third film didn't perform as well. After suffering a pre-release leak, "The Expendables 3" earned $214 million worldwide.
That didn't deter the studio behind the films, though. It was announced in December that while a fourth and final film in the franchise was targeted for 2017. But considering production hasn't begun, a 2018 release date is more likely.
Although the film franchise is winding down, it was reported in 2015 that Lionsgate TV and CBS TV Studios are developing an "Expendables" television spinoff for Fox that would unite iconic TV actors for "a mission to stop a dangerous terrorist.” The status of that project is unknown.
No release date has been announced for "The Expendables 4."