'Insurgent' Beats 'The Gunman' At Weekend Box Office — Are Older Male Action Movies A Thing Of The Past?
First Liam Neeson tried his hand at action movies and rebranded himself as an action star. Now every other male actor over 50 is itching for a taste of the spotlight. Sean Penn's latest release The Gunman follows the action-thriller mold as he plays an ex-soldier whose crimes in battle are now coming back to haunt him. The film debuted opposite the second installment of the Divergent series, Insurgent , and quickly flopped, as millions went to see Shailene Woodley kick some ass. Insurgent grossed an estimated $47 million in 76 markets against The Gunman's $5 million in more than 2,000 theaters, three million less than what Open Road Films was expecting. So this begs the question: Are aging action-star movies a thing of the past?
It seems to me that Neeson's success with the Taken franchise has been really quite difficult to copy with other action stars. Kevin Costner attempted the action movie comeback with 2014's Three Days to Kill, which received mixed to negative reviews and was overshadowed by The Lego Movie (a far superior film, in my opinion), and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Sabotage made under $20 million total worldwide. In other countries, the male aging action-star films sometimes do surprisingly well like the latest Die Hard film which bombed in the States, and Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s film The Escape Plan.
But that's the interesting thing about the aging movie star films. When aging stars team up together, they usually do much better than the men taking on the roles by themselves. Take The Expendables franchise for example: All three films raked in millions and millions of dollars in theaters worldwide.
What would be so much more interesting to see is the emergence of older female action stars, or just more female-driven films in general. The popularity of dystopian films with female leads like the Divergent and The Hunger Games series is a blessing for female-driven projects. But wouldn't it be interesting to see movies set in present day with female leads kicking ass and taking names do well also? Think back to Helen Mirren's role in Red and Red 2 and imagine if you will what it would look like to see someone like that carry an entire action franchise. That would be an incredible sight to see.
Images: Open Road Films; kekemapa93/Tumblr