‘John Wick 4’ hunts down massive, franchise-best opening

Keanu Reeves walking toward the camera in a black suit amid a haze of green fog.
Keanu Reeves in “John Wick: Chapter 4.”
(Murray Close / Lionsgate)
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Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” dominated the domestic box office this weekend with $73.5 million, according to studio estimates — a record-high debut for the action franchise starring Keanu Reeves.

The highly anticipated sequel exceeded early box-office projections, which positioned the film at $60 million to $70 million domestically. Internationally, “John Wick: Chapter 4” launched at $64 million for a global cumulative of $137.5 million.

In comparison, the first “John Wick” opened at $14.4 million domestically in 2014; “John Wick: Chapter 2” debuted at $30.4 million domestically in 2017; and “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” launched at $56.8 million domestically in 2019, according to measurement firm Comscore.


Keanu Reeves returns as a reluctant assassin in the globe-trotting ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ the latest entry in director Chad Stahelski’s action franchise.

March 22, 2023

Rounding out the top three domestic releases of the week were Warner Bros.’ “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” which added $9.7 million million in its sophomore outing for a North American cumulative of $46.3 million; and Paramount Pictures’ “Scream VI,” which scared up $8.4 million in its third weekend for a North American haul of $89.9 million, according to Comscore.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, the fourth installment in the “Wick” saga follows Reeves’ titular assassin on a mission to defeat an underground crime organization called the High Table. The movie also stars Laurence Fishburne, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Scott Adkins, Ian McShane and singer Rina Sawayama in her big-screen debut.

The latest “Wick” entry scored a glowing 95% fresh rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and an A grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

Keanu Reeves remembers his co-star Lance Reddick on the red carpet at the ‘John Wick 4’ premiere in Los Angeles: ‘Lance was a beautiful person.’

March 21, 2023

“This is John Wick gone global; it’s ‘The Wick Ultimatum,’” Times film critic Justin Chang writes.

“Leaping from sun-scorched Moroccan deserts to neon-lit Japanese courtyards to rain-drenched German outdoor nightclub, the movie unleashes hell in grand, globe-trotting style. Even by series standards, it’s an astonishingly staged and sustained panorama of violence. ... Enjoyable as it is, all this maximalist showmanship can feel antithetical to the first film’s sleek, witty economy.”

Shortly before the film reached theaters, Reeves and Stahelski dedicated “John Wick: Chapter 4” to Reddick, who died March 17 at his home in Los Angeles. The 60-year-old actor had portrayed Charon in the “Wick” series since its inception and makes his final appearance as the loyal Manhattan concierge in “Chapter 4.”


Lance Reddick, who died Friday, is remembered by ‘John Wick’ mates including Keanu Reeves for the ‘unparalleled depth’ he brought to his character, Charon.

March 17, 2023

At the Los Angeles premiere of the film on Monday, Stahelski remembered Reddick as “a great guy and a great human,” while Reeves hailed him as a “remarkable artist.”

“We were destroyed when it happened,” Stahelski told The Times. “Then we went up to Keanu’s room and had a whole meeting and there was no talk, there was no decision — everybody just knew the right thing to do. When you have that many people who love someone, you just know.”

Also new to theaters this weekend was IFC Films’ “The Lost King,” which grossed $575,000 at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates. Helmed by Stephen Frears, the comedy stars Sally Hawkins as a dogged historian on a quest to uncover the remains of King Richard III.

“The Lost King” garnered a solid 77% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has not yet received a grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore.

Director Stephen Frears and writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, the team behind 2013’s ‘Philomena,’ recount one woman’s adventurous search for the truth behind the legend of Richard III.

March 23, 2023

“Toward the end, ‘The Lost King’ reveals a distinctly British obsession with royalty and propriety that doesn’t always translate with the same reverence abroad,” writes film critic Katie Walsh for Tribune News Service.

“But the more important story being told is the one about discrimination and misinformation; that fact can be twisted into fiction that’s perpetrated for centuries.”


Expanding to and opening in wide release next weekend are United Artists Releasing’s “A Good Person,” Variance Films’ “Spinning Gold,” Focus Features’ “A Thousand and One” and Paramount Pictures’ “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”