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‘Expendables 3’: Harrison Ford in for Bruce Willis

Lionsgate planning Aug. 15, 2014 release

Harrison Ford is joining Lionsgate’s “The Expendables 3” in a surprise move while Bruce Willis departs.

Co-star Sylvester Stallone revealed the change through his Twitter account, writing “WILLIS OUT, HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey and Victor Ortiz have also committed to the sequel, while rumored castings include Jackie Chan, Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage and Milla Jovovich.

Ford will not take over Willis’ role as Mr. Church.

Ford will be seen next in Relativity’s “Paranoia,” opening Aug. 16, and in Lionsgate’s “Ender’s Game,” launching Nov. 1.

Lionsgate announced in June that it had set a U.S. release date of Aug. 15, 2014, for “The Expendables 3.”  CEO Jon Feltheimer announced that Lionsgatate was aiming to start production in August.

The previous two “Expendables” ensemble actioners were released by Lionsgate in mid-August in 2010 and 2012. The first grossed $275 million worldwide and the second hit $300 million.

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Willis appeared in both films as the Mr. Church character.

Stallone announced earlier this year that Australian director Patrick Hughes would direct the third film, produced by Millennium Films. Stallone directed the first film and Simon West helmed the second.

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