Old (action star) dogs Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis had a rather uneven year at the box office in 2012; the former two headlined financial duds The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head while Willis sequel RED 2 was a slight under-performer, which gives a legitimate reason to question their continued box office viability. Then again, the new year means another chance for these three to prove they're still capable of big ticket sales (and/or decent films, in Willis' case).
Willis has entered negotiations to headline Captive: an independent-funded project that was originally fashioned to serve as a new starring vehicle for Schwarzenegger. However, the latter has passed on the prospect and his Expendables 1 & 2 costar is now poised to become his replacement.
Variety is reporting that principal photography on Captive is expected to get started this March, with Willis in the lead role. The story developed by producer Michael London (Lola Versus) and scripted by Benjamin A. van der Veen (Che: Part Two) and Kario Salem (The Score) revolves around an American real estate magnate (Willis) in Brazil, who ends up being kidnapped and held ransom in an armored-truck prison cell in a isolated landfill. As Willis' protagonist struggles to escape, a detective works around the clock to locate him.
The Captive premise is somewhat reminiscent of that for the Ryan Reynolds Sundance breakout thriller Buried, albeit less minimalism in design (and possibly more subtle with its political overtones). Director Simon Brand used a similar central set piece-driven approach and tension-heavy atmosphere on his 2006 film Unknown, so this project very much lies in his wheelhouse as a storyteller. Likewise, the lead role will allow Willis to flex his dramatic chops as well as his action muscles, which is what he's done in his better films of late (see: Looper).
Willis has the Frank Miller comic book sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For releasing this year, but its arrival nine years after Robert Rodriguez' original Sin City adaptation makes its box office success less certain (to say nothing of Rodriguez' underwhelming output of late). Still, Sin City 2 has a lot of anticipation behind it, which is why it earned an honorable mention on Screen Rant's most anticipated of 2014.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger will try spreading his wings with the gritty thriller Sabotage and zombie drama Maggie both expected to release in 2014, before he reunites with Stallone for another cheeky trip down nostalgia lane with The Expendables 3. That is to say, who knows - by the time this year draws to a close, it might be the old-timers who end up laughing in the faces of everyone who's claimed they're all washed up.
Captive doesn't have an official release date yet, but will probably open in 2015.