Each Wick pic has burned brighter at the box office than the previous entry and the trend looks to continue as John Wick: Chapter 4 is unleashed on March 24th. Keanu Reeves is back in the title role with Chad Stahelski returning to direct. The supporting players are a mix of familiar franchise faces and newcomers including Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rino Sawayama, Ian McShane, and Laurence Fishburne.
In the fall of 2014, the first Wick was a modest success when it debuted with $14 million and $43 million domestic overall. Those numbers seem meager now, but they were better than anticipated and more fans were gained when it hit the home viewing circuit. The 2017 sequel took in $30 million out of the gate with $92 million total. In 2019, Chapter 3 – Parabellum soared to a $56 million premiere with $171 million in the stateside bank.
At nearly three hours long, Chapter 4 is generating some of the strongest reviews of the series. With 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are particularly praising the choreography of its wild action sequences. That should get plenty of genre fans out to the multiplexes. Like Creed III, look for this to score a series high opening with room to spare. I’m thinking mid 60s to possibly $70 million is achievable.
John Wick: Chapter 4 opening weekend prediction: $69.1 million
The Best Picture lineup for the just aired Academy Awards was 20% sequel with Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water in contention. We also had Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery up in key contests. So is it crazy to think John Wick: Chapter 4 could find its way into the Oscar conversation a little less than a year from now? Yeah, it might be.
Or maybe not. The fourth heaping of ultra-violence starring Keanu Reeves and directed by Chad Stahelski stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes prior to its March 24th domestic bow. That exactly matches the scores of predecessors Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 – Parabellum and exceeds the original’s 86%.
Yet many of the reviews are calling #4 the best of the wild bunch. The nearly three hour opus is being specifically singled out for its production design and cinematography. I could certainly see Film Twitter mounting a campaign for this acclaimed franchise to finally get some love from the tech branches. It’s unlikely to occur, but not impossible. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
JohnWick: Chapter3 – Parabellum brings us back into the franchise where the forecast is usually stylishly rainy and dripping with violence. There’s a 100% chance of Keanu Reeves finding creative ways to kill people. Our third iteration does what you expect from a sequel. It increases the action so Mr. Wick fights more. His poor dog met an unfortunate end in Chapter 1 that kicked all of this off. In Parabellum, dogs don’t die. They fight too.
Just as part 2 picked up immediately after its predecessor, this does as well. As you’ll recall, our title character has been excommunicated by the High Table, the organization that governs the unlimited supply of assassins that populate New York City and beyond. He’s a marked man with a $14 million bounty on his head and a dwindling supply of markers causing people to help him. Those individuals include Oscar winning women like Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston.
Wick can no longer have a safe space in the Continental Hotel, managed by Winston (Ian McShane) and his trusty concierge (Lance Reddick). That place provided many highlights in the first two pictures, but our man branches out here. After an excursion to Rome in #2, Wick’s passport gets him to Casablanca here. That’s where he teams with Berry and does a Clark Griswold style desert journey that does give him a respite from the cool looking rain.
Calling the shots is the Adjudicator (an effective Asia Kate Dillon). She’s in charge of punishing the folks who’ve helped Wick out in the past. This includes Winston and the returning Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne, still having a ball). Our head henchman who wants the collect the Wick murder money is Zero (Mark Dacascos) and his character is quite fun. He may have a task to complete, but he’s also a total fanboy of the legend he’s hunting. Their interplay is an added bonus.
Parabellum is ultimately about how well the action scenes work. Director Chad Stahelski and Reeves once again dig deep into their bag of martial arts inspired tricks. And a decent sized portion of the fight sequences are downright thrilling. Perhaps this series will eventually run of gas and the choreography of Reeves in sadistic motion delivering headshots won’t be as satisfying. Not yet.
Blogger’s Note (05/15): My estimate has risen from $37.8 million to $45.8 million
Keanu Reeves is back in theaters next weekend as America’s favorite dog loving hitman when JohnWick: Chapter3 – Parabellum debuts. The action thriller hopes to build upon the momentum of 2017’s highly successful sequel. Chad Stahelski returns as director with familiar series faces including Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, and John Leguizamo. New stars in our third edition include Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, and Anjelica Huston.
Mr. Reeves found himself in an unexpected new franchise five years ago when JohnWick opened to $14 million with a $43 million overall domestic gross. While that might not seem like enough to automatically warrant a follow-up, the pic achieved critical kudos and cult status when it arrived on demand. Three years later, Chapter2 made $30 million for its start and $92 million total.
Parabellum has a solid shot at topping the opening weekend of its predecessor, which also garnered glowing reviews. I’ll say mid to high 30s is where this ends up.
JohnWick: Chapter3 – Parabellum opening weekend prediction: $45.8 million
Unlike its surprise hit predecessor, no animals are harmed in the duration of John Wick: Chapter 2. However, dozens and dozens of other miscellaneous henchmen are. Especially their heads, which is a specialty of our title character to turn them into squib fodder.
2014’s John Wick gave our retired assassin (Keanu Reeves) a decent reason to use his killing skills. His dying wife gave him a dog as a gift and bad guys disposed of it (they also stole his sweet ride). This led to a shoot-em-up extravaganza that served as a comeback role for Reeves and one of the more distinctive action titles in a while. Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch fashioned an ultra stylish, ultra violent, and occasionally ultra inventive experience. The first Wick burned with an intense, brooding and often humorous showcase for its star. Yet it also began building a world gleefully not grounded anywhere in reality that let the creative juices of screenwriter Derek Kolstad run free. This was especially evident in scenes at The Continental Hotel in New York City, a fancy establishment reserved for nefarious types who make their living from offing others.
It was time spent at that hotel that gave John Wick an air of something new and creative and it turns out there’s a Continental in Rome as well. That’s where the majority of the carnage here takes place. The sequel picks up right after the events of the original as Wick wraps up his business from the previous outing. He’s ready to go back to retirement with his new unnamed canine companion when an Italian baddie (Riccardo Scamarcio) visits his home. It turns out Wick made a deal with him some time ago to accept any job with no questions asked. Our villain’s task is to kill his sister so he can elevate his crime boss status and that brings Wick to Rome with an arsenal.
What follows is a lot of what we saw in the original – grandly choreographed sequences in which Wick uses his talents. This could run the risk of becoming redundant. There’s only so many ways of killing villains, but I’ll be damned if Wick doesn’t find some fascinating ways to do it. Still, it’s the little touches that make chapters 1 and 2 special from time to time.
For instance, I love the idea of an old school telephone company setting where the women working in the office look like goth versions of tellers from the 1950s. Their job is to pass along information when a hit is ordered (of which John is certainly subject to). I found myself interested in all the rules that the film’s enormous supply of assassins must abide by and the hints of larger syndicates. Some of those new professionals include Common (whose fights scenes with Wick are a highlight) and Ruby Rose as a mute vixen who hurls insults through sign language. Laurence Fishburne pops up as an underground (literally) crime leader whose group will probably play a larger role in the inevitable sequel.
While Wick’s motivations in this chapter aren’t quite as rage inducing as his departed pup, Chapter 2 recognizes the unique qualities that put chapter 1 above your typical genre material. Thankfully it keeps it at a level where I’m curious what the next chapter brings beyond the limitless supply of mercenaries whose cranial areas will be irreparably harmed.
Warner Bros is hoping audiences will want to go into beast mode this weekend as Kong: Skull Island is unveiled in theaters. It’s the only new wide release and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
The ape tale should top the box office, but if it comes in below my high 40s forecast, the second weekend of Logan (which opened fantastically this past weekend) could give it a run for its money. I do expect the acclaimed Wolverine tale to dip a bit more than 50%.
Get Out experienced a very small decline in its sophomore frame and should continue its terrific run in third place. The Shack was a hit with faith based crowds and I have it with a smallish decline in its second weekend with The Lego Batman Movie dropping to fifth.
And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:
1. Kong: Skull Island
Predicted Gross: $48.6 million
Predicted Gross: $42.5 million (representing a drop of 52%)
3. Get Out
Predicted Gross: $19.8 million (representing a drop of 30%)
4. The Shack
Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 34%)
5. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $6.8 million (representing a drop of 42%)
Box Office Results (March 3-5)
Logan, with its terrific reviews and buzz from being Hugh Jackman’s final appearance in his signature role, posted a sizzling $88.4 million debut. That’s the third highest X-Men opening of the nine pictures of the franchise. It came in at the most optimistic level of expectations and blew away my meager $68.6M forecast.
The other story of the week: the remarkable hold of Get Out, which dipped only 15% and earned $28.2 million in weekend two (besting my $20M prediction). Its ten day total is at $78 million – or over 15 times its budget to put it in perspective.
Oh… and the third story of the weekend was the robust third place premiere of The Shack. It earned a sturdy $16.1 million, outshining my $9.7M estimate.
The Lego Batman Movie dipped to fourth with $11.7 million, in line with my $11.1M prognosis for a total of $148M. John Wick: Chapter 2 was fifth with $4.8 million (I said $5.6M) to brings its tally to $82M.
Debuting quietly in sixth was YA thriller Before I Fall with just $4.6 million, a tad under my $5.3M estimate.
The month of March at the box office claws its way into theaters with three new releases premiering. They are: Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine in Logan, faith-based drama The Shack, and teen thriller Before I Fall. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:
Logan, with some of the greatest reviews of the X-Men franchise, should easily top the charts. It’s worth noting that my mid-60s forecast is a bit lower than some others. We shall see.
I’m expecting sub double digit openings for the other two newcomers, with The Shack landing in fourth and Before I Fall in sixth.
Critically lauded horror pic Get Out had a spectacular opening (more on that below) and I expect a rather small sophomore decline. It should have no trouble placing second. That leaves other holdovers The Lego Batman Movie in third and John Wick: Chapter 2 at fifth.
And with that, my top 6 predictions for the weekend:
Predicted Gross: $68.6 million
2. Get Out
Predicted Gross: $20 million (representing a drop of 40%)
3. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $11.1 million (representing a drop of 42%)
4. The Shack
Predicted Gross: $9.7 million
5. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million (representing a drop of 39%)
6. Before I Fall
Predicted Gross: $5.3 million
Box Office Results (February 24-26)
With its red hot buzz and perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, Jordan Peele’s Get Out got off to a scorching start with a $33.3 million opening – blazing past my meager $16.3M prediction. With a budget of reportedly under $5 million, this is a massively profitable venture for Blumhouse.
The Lego Batman Movie slipped to second to $19.2 million, a bit shy of my $22.1M projection for a three week total of $133M.
John Wick: Chapter 2 was third with $9.3 million, in range with my $8.4M forecast for a $74M overall gross. The Great Wall was fourth in its second weekend with $9.1 million (I said $8.2M) for a lackluster tally of $34M. Fifty Shades Darker rounded out the top five with $7.7 million in weekend #3, under my $9.9M prediction. Its total is at $103M.
Two other newcomers failed to make any impression with moviegoers. The animated Rock Dog was 11th with $3.7 million, in line with my $4.4M prediction. Action thriller Collide was DOA in 13th with $1.5 million, not even my matching my $2.1M estimate.
It’s a weekend where the bulk of movie lovers attention may be focused on Sunday’s Oscar ceremony and not what’s playing in the multiplex itself. There are three releases going wide: Jordan Peele’s race themed horror pic Get Out, animated musical comedy Rock Dog, and Felicity Jones led action thriller Collide. You can peruse my detailed individual predictions on each of them here:
The real question in this last weekend of February, as I see it, is how the critically acclaimed Get Out performs. I have it in the mid teens, which almost certainly means a second place showing to The Lego Batman Movie in its third frame. However, the horror flick certainly has breakout potential and could go higher (61% of my blog readers believe my estimate is too low).
Both Rock Dog and Collide appear headed for dismal showings. My respective predictions of $4.4 million and $2.1 million have them outside of the top five.
And with that, the top 5 predictions for what should be a rather slow weekend:
1. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $22.1 million (representing a drop of 32%)
2. Get Out
Predicted Gross: $16.3 million
3. Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted Gross: $9.9 million (representing a drop of $51%)
4. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 48%)
5. The Great Wall
Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 55%)
Box Office Results (February 17-20)
It was a rather ho-hum Presidents Day Weekend as three newcomers all failed to connect with audiences. The Lego Batman Movie easily maintained the top spot with $42.7 million over the four-day holiday, under my $49.4M estimate. Its total has built up to $107M.
Fifty Shades Darker stayed in second with $22.6 million, in line with my $21.3M prognosis for an overall $91M gross.
Matt Damon’s expensive action epic The Great Wall debuted at a disappointing third with $21.5 million, shy of my $25.6M prediction. With mediocre reviews, look for it to crumble quickly.
John Wick: Chapter 2 was fourth with $18.9 million (I said $21.5M) for a two-week tally of $61M.
The Ice Cube/Charlie Day Fist Fight was punched out by audiences with only a $14.1 opening in fifth, well under my generous $25.1M guesstimate.
Finally, the Gore Verbinski directed A Cure for Wellness was DOA in 11th place with just $5 million (less than half my $10.2M forecast).
President’s Day weekend has arrived at the box office with three new titles debuting over the four-day holiday frame: Matt Damon’s action epic The Great Wall, Ice Cube/Charlie Day comedy Fist Fight, and Gore Verbinski’s horror thriller A Cure for Wellness. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
None of the trio is likely to dislodge the Caped Crusader and his Lego friends from the top perch in its second weekend. In fact, this particular February weekend often sees holdovers experience smallish declines. The Lego Movie dipped just 9% in the 2014 PD weekend and I expect the same type of minor dip for its spin-off.
With the #1 film safely (I think) determined, the rest of the top five is much more unpredictable. Looking over the past few President’s Day weekends, newbies opening in the mid to high 20s is commonplace. This applied to titles such as Unknown, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, About Last Night, and Robocop. I foresee both Wall and Fight falling in this range for a photo finish for #2.
Then there’s Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter 2, both in their sophomore weekends. I don’t see Darker having a 74% drop like its predecessor Fifty Shades of Grey experienced (it had a much bigger opening for one thing). However, I could see it losing half its audience easily as grosses for this franchise are front loaded. Wick may lose less than a third of its debut crowd for a solid hold. And that could create another photo finish between these sequels.
This leaves A Cure for Wellness. Strong reviews may have helped this, but it’s not getting them and I’m diagnosing just a low double digits premiere for a probable sixth place showing.
And with that, my top 6 projections for this busy weekend:
1. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $49.4 million (representing a drop of 6%)
2. The Great Wall
Predicted Gross: $25.6 million
3. Fist Fight
Predicted Gross: $25.1 million
4. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $21.5 million (representing a drop of 29%)
5. Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted Gross: $21.3 million (representing a drop of 54%)
6. A Cure for Wellness
Predicted Gross: $10.2 million
Box Office Results (February 10-12)
The Lego Batman Movie took the top spot, though not with as much ease as many thought it would. The critically acclaimed animated spin-off grossed $53 million, a decent number but not near the $69M made by The Lego Movie in its inaugural weekend and under my $65.8M projection. That said, as mentioned above, its drop this weekend should be slight.
Fifty Shades Darker opened in second at $46.6 million, in line with my $44.8M estimate. This is far from the $85 million achieved two years back by Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s actually above some of the predictions from prognosticators in the past week or so.
John Wick: Chapter 2 capitalized on the goodwill left over from the 2014 original with a strong $30.4 million, more than doubling the $14M earned by its predecessor two and a half years back. It easily eclipsed my $20.7M estimate.
Holdovers rounded out the top five with Split dropping to fourth at $9.5 million (I said $8.2M) for a $112M total and Hidden Figures at fifth with $8 million (I said $6.9M) for a $131M overall haul.
And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…
The cinematic stylings of director Gore Verbinski returns to screens next weekend when A Cure for Wellness opens. The horror thriller set in the Swiss Alps finds Dane DeHaan as a businessman trapped in a mysterious “wellness” center. Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth costar. Its trailer is filled with striking visuals that have part of Verbinski’s repertoire. The filmmaker had some massive hits with The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean and its first two sequels. However, his previous effort The Lone Ranger was an expensive dud.
While the previews look fascinating, reviews have not been very strong and it stands at just 36% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Its two and a half hour running time (something several critics have noted as a flaw) could also be a detriment, as well as competition for the same audience from John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Great Wall.
Wellness is highly likely to place third among the trio of newcomers debuting over Presidents Day weekend and it could struggle to place in the top five. I’ll say a low double digits premiere is the diagnosis here.
A Cure for Wellness opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million