With ‘The Expendables 2′ hitting theaters, a look at other great film ensembles

Chuck Norris is just one of many familiar faces in “Expendables 2.”

With ‘The Expendables 2’ hitting theaters Friday, we have proof once again that if you pack a ton of high-profile talent into one film, you can’t lose.  Here we take a look at some of the best examples of supremely successful high-head count films.

‘The Avengers’ (2012)

The cast: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard
High-power headcount: 11

Critical reaction: 92% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

What made it great: With a snappy script, skillful performances and powerful action sequences, “The Avengers” offered a well-rounded meal for hungry comic book fans.

Opening box office take: $207.4 million

‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (2001)

The cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Bernic Mac, Carl Reiner, Scott Kahn
High-power headcount: 11

Critical reaction: 82% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

What made it great: Funny, stylish, smart and very, very sexy, this heist caper front-loaded talent, making Steven Soderbergh’s skill as a director shine that much brighter.

Opening box office take: $38 million

‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

The cast: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Rosanna Arquette, Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken
High power headcount: 10

Critical reaction:
95% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

What made it great: Quentin Tarantino’s landmark film resurrected John Travolta’s career and became a watershed moment for indie cinema’s increasing profitability.

Opening box office take: $9.3 million

‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ (2001)

The cast: Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Anjelica Houston, Alec Baldwin, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson
High power headcount: 9

Critical reaction: 80% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

What made it great: Director Wes Anderson’s quirky film about family dysfunction utilized each actor’s strongest talents so well that the film is largely considered his best. A 2008 survey by film magazine Empire named it the 159th best film of all time.

Opening box office take: $8.5 million

‘The Expendables’ (2010)

The cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Bruce Willis
High power headcount: 9

Critical reaction: 41% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

What made it great: The first “Expendables” film may not have found favor with critics, but box office numbers don’t lie — audiences loved this over-the-top homage to the action films of the 1980s.

Opening box office take: $34.8M


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