EXCLUSIVE: Chinese exhibition giant Dadi has pre-bought mainland China distribution rights to Sylvester Stallone-fronted action sequels The Expendables 4 and Rambo 5 from Avi Lerner’s Millenium Media.

Production on both franchises has long-been subject to rumour, but according to sales and production outfit Millenium, which has backed all of The Expendables movies and the latest Rambo installment, Stallone will return for Rambo 5 in September 2018 and star in The Expendables 4 in early 2019.

While there was no official word on the value of the China deal, we understand it is comfortably into eight-figures and essentially constitutes a co-finance agreement on the movies. The Cannes pact was negotiated by Millennium’s President Jeffrey Greenstein and Co-President Jonathan Yunger, and Executive Vice President Yu Yusan and Producer Allen V. Dam on behalf of Dadi’s distribution arm Dadi Film Distribution Co.

“It’s a great opportunity for Dadi to be involved with Millennium on such notable franchises,” said Dam. “As one of China’s largest exhibitors, we are very excited to be working with Dadi,” added Greenstein.

As we reported earlier this month, in Rambo 5 Stallone will reprise his role as John Rambo, this time crossing the U.S.- Mexico border to do battle with one of Mexico’s most violent cartels to rescue a friend’s kidnapped daughter. The plot and cast details for the next Expendables movie are being kept under wraps, but Stallone hinted at a comeback for the franchise earlier this year. Local media has reported that the movie will return to Bulgaria to shoot. In 2017, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would consider returning for the franchise if Sly was in and he was happy with the script.

2014 actioner The Expendables 3, which was backed by Chinese group Le Vision Pictures, took more than $72m in China, almost double its theatrical revenue in the U.S.

Dadi is China’s second largest exhibitor with more than 455 theaters and 2600 screens in 178 cities. In early 2017 the company paid $575m for the Chinese cinemas of pan-Asian exhibitor Orange Sky Golden Harvest.

Millenium, the indie outfit best known for action franchises such as The Expendables, Olympus Has Fallen and The Hitman’s Bodyguard, is currently in post-production on action-fantasy reboot Hellboy. Upcoming titles include Jake Tapper’s The Outpost with Scott Eastwood, The Bayou starring Gary Oldman and Dylan O’Brien, and Poison Rose starring John Travolta, Famke Janssen and Morgan Freeman. Last year the company was almost bought by Chinese outfit Recon but a deal ultimately didn’t make. Lionsgate had domestic rights to the latest Rambo installment in 2008 and The Expendables 3.