For the most The Expendables movies have been met part with critical disdain. The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane christened the first film, “breathtakingly sleazy in its lack of imagination,” while reviewer James Kendrick said the second installment, was “a better concept than it is a movie.”
Both films star a who’s who of 1980s actions movies—Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more—and have exterminated the competition, collecting an average of $289.9 million at the worldwide box office.
The new movie, inventively titled The Expendables 3, adds vintage action stars Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford to the mix and doubtless will add big bucks to the franchise’s overall gross, whether the critics embrace it or not.
The Expendables movies appear to be bulletproof to critical missiles but they aren’t the first films to be lambasted by reviewers and then clean up at the box office.
Meet the Spartans, a parody of sword and sandal epics from the creators of Scary Movie, currently sits at a 2% Tomatometer rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but that didn’t stop it from taking the top spot at the box office, narrowly edging out Stallone’s Rambo reboot, on its 2008 opening weekend. In the end it made $84,646,831 worldwide despite being called “one of the most painfully bad comedies I’ve ever had to endure,” by Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons.
Finally, Adam Sandler is a fan favorite, but finds little love from the critics. Jack and Jill, a 2011 comedy that saw him play twin brother and sister, earned a whopping $149,673,788 worldwide, but was dubbed “relentlessly witless” by the Daily Star while New Zealand critic Liam Maguren wrote, “Burn this. This cannot be seen. By anyone.”