‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ shoots its way to franchise-best opening weekend

NEW YORK — “John Wick: Chapter 4,” the fourth installment in Keanu Reeves’ assassin series, debuted Sunday with a franchise-best gross of $73.5 million at the box office, according to the studio’s estimates.

The Lion Gate


Starring Reeves as the reluctant but not-so-reluctant killer John Wick, the film surpassed both expectations and previous opening weekends in the R-rated franchise. Since it first launched in 2014 with John Wick ($14 million in opening weekend), the Chad Stahelski-directed series has steadily grown as a ticket seller with each installment. 2017’s follow-up started at $30.4 million, and 2019’s third chapter, “Parabellum,” debuted at $56.8 million.

But Chapter 4, which runs for two hours and 49 minutes and costs at least $100 million to produce, is the biggest film to date in the once-skinny action series. Critics also said it was a franchise highlight, scoring 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The film, which was 69% male viewers, grossed $64 million overseas. It’s Lionsgate’s biggest win of the pandemic era.

“If you get fourth place in an action franchise, expect it to go under. That’s the nature of these franchises,” said Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “But we kept seeing signals and it was wonderful to see the film they delivered. We saw that the audience wanted more.”

Although “John Wick” has grown at the box office with each new release – an enviable and rare development among Hollywood franchises – “Chapter 4” brings some finality to Reeves’ character. The actor hasn’t entirely turned down the continuation of the series, telling interviewers, “Never say never.”

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Regardless, the franchise will continue to hum. A spin-off titled Ballerina starring Ana de Armas and Reeves has already been filmed. The miniseries The Continental, starring Mel Gibson, is coming soon to Peacock.

“Chad and Keanu created this world and this world continues to expand. I still don’t know what all the edges of this world are,” Drake said. “As best they can, they will keep trying to seduce Keanu into coming back and doing things. He gets beat up on these shows. He really does. And at the end he says: ‘I don’t do that anymore.’ Then you see him sitting in the theater and you feel this audience.”

“So we will continue to look at ways to meet that demand.”

Also bittersweet was the release of John Wick: Chapter 4, which included a surprise premiere at SXSW. Lance Reddick, who plays Continental Hotel concierge Charon in the films, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 a week before the film’s release.

But the success of John Wick: Chapter 4 is helping to get off to a strong start for Hollywood in 2023. After ticket sales recovered to about 67% of pre-pandemic levels last year, this year’s release list is more stable and full. Sequels have paved the way, including Creed III and Scream VI. Ticket sales are up 28% year over year, according to data company Comscore.

But there were some exceptions. After its disappointing $30.5 million debut last weekend, superhero sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods crashed to second place in its second weekend with $9.7 million. The Warner Bros.

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Release fell precipitously, falling 68% since its inception.



“Scream VI” took third place in its third weekend with $8.4 million, bringing its total to date to $90.4 million domestically and $139.3 million worldwide. Creed III followed in fourth place with $8.4 million. The Michael B. Jordan sequel is selling for as much as $140.9 million domestically.

The other new releases of the weekend were more modest.

Zach Braff’s A Good Person, starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman, opened in 530 theaters. The publication of Amazon


MGM grossed $834,000. IFC Films’ The Lost King, starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan, debuted at $575,000 across 753 locations.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. “John Wick: Chapter 4”, $73.5 million.

2. “Shazam! Wrath of the Gods, $9.7 million.

3. “Scream VI”, $8.4 million.

4. “Creed III”, $8.4 million.

5. “65”, $3.3 million.

6. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”, $2.4 million.

7. “Cocaine Bear”, $2.1 million.

8. “Jesus Revolution”, $2 million.

9. “Champions”, $1.5 million.

10. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $1.4 million.

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