With a $73.5 million opening weekend, John Wick: Chapter 4 smashes the franchise record

“John Wick: Chapter 4” dominated the box office, grossing a whopping $73.5 million in its first weekend.

The fourth installment in Lionsgate’s action series, headlined by Keanu Reeves as a legendary assassin, had the best start of the franchise, thanks to positive reviews and tremendous word-of-mouth. In terms of ticket sales, it’s one of the few original properties that keeps expanding and developing. The original “John Wick” grossed $14 million in its opening weekend in 2014, its sequel “John Wick: Chapter 2” grossed $30.4 million in its first weekend in 2017, while the third picture “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” previously set a series high with $56.8 million in 2019.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” pulled earned $64 million at the foreign box office, debuting at No. 1 in each of the 71 markets where it was released, bringing its global total to $137.5 million. It cost more than $100 million to make, making it the most expensive film in the series. Yet, ticket sales have already demonstrated that the extra coinage was worthwhile.

“This is a fantastic opening,” says David A. Gross, president of the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Each of the ‘John Wick’ sequels has grown significantly. It’s fantastic.”

Even after two hours and 49 minutes, moviegoers praised “John Wick: Chapter 4,” which received a “A” CinemaScore. The opening weekend audience for the film was 69% male and 70% over the age of 25.

Only nine franchises in the last 40 years have established opening weekend records with their fourth appearance, according to Lionsgate. Only five of those nine properties have had each installment outperform its predecessor in terms of ultimate box office totals. In the example of “John Wick,” the first film grossed $86.1 million but became a sleeper hit in home entertainment, while the sequel grossed $174.3 million. “Parabellum,” which is presently the highest grossing entry, grossed $328.3 million worldwide.

“The ‘John Wick’ brand is an outlier,” says Joe Drake, motion picture group president at Lionsgate. “The outcomes speak for themselves. We anticipate a large multiple.”

The latest “John Wick” film, directed by Chad Stahelski, features the titular hitman as he continues his war against the formidable organization known as the High Table. Lionsgate has remained tight-lipped about a fifth “John Wick” film, but nothing has been confirmed. Reeves and other cast members, on the other hand, will return for “Ballerina,” a spinoff narrative starring Ana de Armas.

Returning to the “John Wick” universe is “more than intriguing,” Drake says. “I’m not giving up hope that there will be a ‘Wick 5.'”

With the exception of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” March has been a standout month at the box office, with new entries “Scream” and “Creed” setting opening weekend records in their respective series.

“What a year can do,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst. “March 2023 is benefiting from a tremendous roster of films, making it one of the most significant [March months] on record.”