Rambo: Last Blood is projected to have the biggest box office opening in the franchise’s history. Sylvester Stallone will reprise his role as John Rambo for the fifth time overall in Last Blood, and the first since his last appearance as the character in 2008’s Rambo. The actor originated the role all the way back in 1982’s First Blood, which itself was an adaptation of David Morrell’s 1972 novel about the traumatized Vietnam War veteran John Rambo, and his battle with the authorities in a small town.
Directed by Adrian Grunberg (Get the Gringo) from a screenplay by Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick (South Beach, Absentia), Last Blood picks up in real-time after 2008’s Rambo ended with Sly’s title character visiting his estranged father at his horse farm in Arizona. John has since settled into a quiet life (in the wake of his father’s passing), but returns to action when a friend’s daughter is kidnapped by the dangerous Mexican cartel led by the cruel Hugo Martinez (Sergio Peris-Mencheta).
According to Deadline, Rambo: Last Blood is projected to gross between $21 and 24 million during its U.S. opening weekend next month. That would be a new franchise-high, ahead of Rambo‘s $18.2 million take in 2008 and Rambo: First Blood Part II‘s current series-high $20.1 million debut from 1985 (these totals are unadjusted for inflation, of course). Assuming it goes that high, Last Blood may give Lionsgate another weekend atop the domestic box office after Angel Has Fallen reigned supreme last week. Admittedly, that will depend on how strongly Warner Bros.’ horror sequel IT Chapter Two is still going by that point.
The Last Blood marketing has portrayed the film as being a violent, western-style swan song for Stallone’s John Rambo, in the same vein as movies like Logan. It’s the most commercial title arriving on September 20, and shouldn’t have much trouble exceeding the opening takes for its fellow wide releases, like the Brad Pitt-led space odyssey Ad Astra (which looks to open with $17.5-19 million). There’s still a chance that either Ad Astra or the Downton Abbeymovie – which also premieres that weekend – will exceed the current estimates (Downton Abbey, for its part, is projected for a $15-16 million debut), but Last Blood is the most likely to come out on top all the same.