Stallone: I’m contemplating an ‘Expendables’ sequel


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With pre-release surveys for “The Expendables” indicating huge levels of excitement among male filmgoers, director Sylvester Stallone says he’s ready to roll on a sequel if investors are willing.

“If this does perform, I think it will open a little more liquidity in funding the sequel,” he said. “I have an idea ready to go. People think doing a sequel is easy, but it’s not because you need the element of surprise. I’m going to try to do something that’s quite radical.”


Stallone offered few specifics on what that radical idea might be, but the hyphenate isn’t shy about what “Expendables,” which is poised to open north of $30 million this weekend, means for his career. In an interview for a story that ran in today’s Times, Stallone said he first pitched the movie, which he also co-wrote, at the American Film Market more than two years ago. AFM, held in Santa Monica each November, is traditionally a bazaar of sorts for movies starring actors a little past their prime domestically but well known overseas. But Stallone, who still has plenty of cachet internationally, initially couldn’t find investors for “The Expendables.” It was only later in 2008 that independent financier Avi Lerner stepped up to cover the movie’s $82-million budget, most through foreign presales. In addition, Lionsgate paid nearly $20 million for rights to distribute the movie -- which co-stars action names such as Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Jason Statham and Jet Li (and features cameos from classic action heroes Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger) -- in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain.

Of course, big expectations don’t always result in big results at the box office, as Lionsgate learned the hard way with “Kick-Ass.” But Stallone, who admits he’s as nervous as he has ever been before a movie opened, said his fears are eased a bit when he remembers that he broke his neck doing stunts on the set of “The Expendables.”

“It’s a good omen,” he explained. “I didn’t get a hangnail on the set of ‘Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.’ ”

-- Ben Fritz


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