Exclusive: Box Office: Can Keanu Reeves’ ‘John Wick 4’ Finally Break Out Overseas?

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The first teaser for John Wick: Chapter 4 was released by Lionsgate last night. My apologies for any inconvenience caused. When she returns, I’ll be alone with the eldest. For my younger children, “cooking supper > writing about a trailer” is a natural progression. In any event, this appears to be the same minute-long clip that was shown at CinemaCon in late April. A sword-and-gun duel between our protagonist and actor Donnie Yen is one of the many “Yes, we have more cards up our sleeve” images packed into the short film’s 60 seconds. Two charismatic leading males in their 60s who don’t appear a day older than 35 are still setting the bar high. This film will be released on March 23, 2023, during an extremely busy March (see also: Creed III, D&D, Disney’s Haunted Mansion, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Scream 6).

Keanu Reeves in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’
LIONSGATE

Each of the four John Wick films has/will open at different times of the year. Early box office receipts of $14 million in late October 2014 were followed by $43 million in the U.S. domestic market and $88 million overseas on a $30 million budget for John Wick. On a $40 million budget, John Wick: Chapter 2 was a classic breakout sequel, opening in February 2017 (on the same weekend as The LEGO Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker) with $30 million before going on to earn $92 million domestically and $172 million internationally. Despite being released at the height of summer, John Wick: Chapter 3 grossed an absurd $56 million in its first weekend of release. Even after spending just $75 million to make the film, it nevertheless managed to make $171 million domestic and $323 million internationally. This franchise’s rising trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable.

Captain America: Civil War (a domestic total of $409 million and a worldwide total of $1.155 billion) pitted Captain America against Iron Man, introduced Spider-Man and Black Panther, and featured the majority of the Avengers fighting each other to the death. The Winter Soldier ($259 million/$714 million) nonetheless had a 58 percent domestic and a 62 percent international increase. John Wick: Chapter 3’s domestic and worldwide box office gains were 86% and 87%, respectively, while working with reduced budgets. Back in 2019, I wondered if John Wick: Chapter 4, which in a non-Covid world would have opened in the same mid-May slot in 2021, might take a massive overseas upswing like we saw with Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Jason Bourne, and Fast & Furious (all “part four” in their respective character-specific franchises) while maintaining domestic strength. I’m not sure if the last two years have increased or decreased the likelihood of that.

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After four years, John Wick 3 will be released. Even more of a pipe dream is the release of the fourth film in China. At least three of these blockbuster films (John Wick 4, Aquaman 2, and Creed 3) were meant to open in 2022, making March an extremely busy month. The sequel to Aquaman, which raked in $298 million in China, is expected to be the biggest-grossing Hollywood film of the year. Solid sales for Top Gun: Maverick, Uncharted, and (probably) Nope suggest that customers desire more than only Marvel/DC movies and Illumination cartoons, on the other hand, absence may make the heart grow fonder. If John Wick 4 lives up to expectations, fans of the first three flicks will no doubt go to the theaters to see it again. Since it began, this star-driven, R-rated original property has been a non-stop wonder.

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