• Box Office

World Box Office March 20 to 26, 2023

Keanu Reeves and his hunted assassin alter ego accomplished what only a few succeeded to do. On its fourth and supposedly adieu installment, John Wick: Chapter 4 demolished – just like how opponents are vanquished in the film – its predecessors’ opening records and also dealt a blow to its competition.

John Wick: Chapter 4, directed again by Chad Stahelski, debuted spectacularly with $70.6 million, numbers that box office experts touted were remarkable on several fronts. According to these analysts, this latest John Wick outing joins a rare circle of only nine franchises in four decades that established record bows on their fourth installments.

Reeves’ latest appearance as the black-suited hunted assassin is only among five franchises that gained box office traction with each new installment.

Box office prognosticators also hailed the fourquel’s debut numbers as the biggest bow of an R-rated movie in the post-COVID era.

Chapter 4, the first in the series not written by creator Derek Kolstad, and was penned instead by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, portrays a weary Wick, with the bounty on his head increasing, and aiming for his freedom from the High Table, encounters powerful players as he goes from New York, Osaka, Berlin to Paris.

The fourquel benefits from compelling nonstop action set pieces. Reeves, who has mastered the art of weariness, is surrounded by well-chosen cast first-timers – Hiroyuki Sanada, as Shimazu Koji (Osaka Continental Hotel manager), Donnie Yen (Caine), Bill Skarsgård  (Marquis), Shamier Anderson (Tracker) and Rina Sawayama (Akira, Koji’s daughter).

The returning cast includes Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King), Lance Reddick (Charon), who recently passed away, and Ian McShane (Winston).

Scream VI, another franchise success story, picked up $8.875 million to stay in the second spot. On its third weekend, the horror-mystery-thriller starring Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera and Courteney Cox has amassed $90.3 million.

Zachary Levi’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which managed to debut at the top on the previous weekend despite its failure to meet low-ball figure projections, earned $8.6 million and dropped to third place. The sequel, which has grossed a domestic cume of $45.2 million so far, appears unlikely to surpass the first movie’s earnings.

Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III, also a franchise installment that outperformed its earlier incarnations, collected $8.1 million on its round 4 to place fourth.

Adam Driver’s sci-fi dinosaur film, 65, hung on to the top five with $3.25 million.

Comprising the rest of the magic ten in the domestic charts were, in order: Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, $2.1 million; Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear, $2.05 million; Jesus Revolution, $2 million; Woody Harrelson’s Champions, $1.47 million; and James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, $1.22 million.

Internationally, Chapter 4 bowed at the top in all the 70-plus territories where it opened. The $64 million tally from overseas turnstile ticket sales added to the movie’s $137.5 million worldwide launch. These figures surpassed the analysts’ projections.

Top markets include Mexico, Australia, Russia, Taiwan, France, Philippines and Italy.

The tantalizing question is: now that Reeves’ supposedly final outing as the weary assassin is a spectacular box office success, will it really be his swan song in that trademark black suit and tie?