At $73.5 Million, ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Is a Lionsgate Triumph

No other film crossed $10 million, with the “Shazam! “ sequel suffering a painful fall to earth.
Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4. Photo Credit: Murray Close
"John Wick: Chapter 4"
Murray Close/Lionsgate

In a business that lives and dies by sequels, perhaps the best news about the terrific opening weekend for “John Wick: Chapter 4”   (Lionsgate) is that for the third time in four weeks, a sequel opened to a gross better than the previous installment.

“Wick 4” opened to $73.5 million, substantially ahead of strong earlier starts for “Creed 3” (MGM) and “Scream 6” (Paramount). That is by far the best initial take in the “Wick” series. And it’s a welcome return to form for Lionsgate, which in past years thrived with huge franchises like “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.”

This is their biggest film since the final “Hunger Games” in 2015. This company was a vital addition to theater revenues pre-Covid. But since “Knives Out” in 2019, their biggest gross before this was “The Jesus Revolution” with $49 million (and still in release).

Apart from its record-high debut, “Wick 4” also had its best Cinemascore (A), Metacritic result (78), and the most premium screens (1,697). It added another $64 million in foreign openings, placing #1 in all 71 territories.

Even better, with an estimated production budget of $100 million, it has a lower threshold to reach profit than many franchise titles. Evidence of its multi-platform potential is seen by its PVOD presales: It briefly reached #1 on iTunes this weekend.

This performance is similar to another R-rated action success — “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Its 2o15 release saw a $45 million opening and surpassing that is impressive.

Reported audience demographics show a strong turnout dominated by male, 18-34, non-white moviegoers. That bodes well for Universal’s upcoming “Fast X” (opening May 19).

“Wick 4” took did 62 percent of the weekend total of around $117 million. No other film managed over $10 million. The biggest blame goes to “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery), which dropped 68 percent in its second weekend after a weak start. The DC Comics title is looking at a domestic total below $70 million.

The latest “Scream” and “Creed” entries followed with drops affected by the strength of “Wick 4.” “Creed 6” is heading to series-best $160 million domestic total, while “Scream 6” will exceed $100 million.

The weekend total keeps 2023 to date about 27 percent ahead of last year, about on pace with recent weeks. If that is sustained, the 2023 domestic total would be around $9.4 billion. Our four-week rolling comparison to the most recent pre-Covid same dates stands at 69 percent.

Three new titles played in multi-hundred theaters this weekend. Zack Braff’s “A Good Person”  (MGM) with Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman managed $834,000 in 530 theaters. Stephen Frears’ “The Lost King” (IFC) with Sally Hawkins did $575,000 in 753.

"Tori and Lokita"
“Tori and Lokita”Sideshow and Janus Films

Several well-reviewed titles had fair platform openings. The Dardennes brothers “Tori and Lokita” (Sideshow/Janus) did $15,600 in two theaters. “Nam June Pak: Moon Is the Oldest TV” (Greenwich) scored the year’s best documentary exclusive opening with $10,378 at New York’s Film Forum. Also opening in one New York theater, “The Five Devils” (MUBI) took in $8,666. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24), now starting its second year, added another $445,000.

The Top 10 

1. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 78; Est. budget: $100 million

$73,525,000 in 3,855 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $19,073; Cumulative: $73,525,000

2. Shazam!: Fury of the Gods (WBD) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$9,700,000 (-68%) in 4,071 (no change) theaters; PTA: $2,383; Cumulative: $46,307,000

3. Scream VI (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$8,400,000 (-52%) in 3,355 (-321) theaters; PTA: $2,504; Cumulative: $89,893,000

4. Creed III (MGM) Week 4; Last weekend #3

$8,369,000 (-46%) in 3,207 (-270) theaters; PTA: $2,610; Cumulative: $140,889,000

5. 65 (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$3,250,000 (-44%) in 2,786 (-619) theaters; PTA: $1,167; Cumulative: $27,834,000

6. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #5

$2,420,000  (-43%) in 1,915 (-735) theaters; PTA: $1,241; Cumulative: $209,863,000

7. Cocaine Bear (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #6; also on PVOD

$2,090,000 (-47%) in 2,207 (-480) theaters; PTA: $947; Cumulative: $62,132,000

8. Jesus Revolution (Lionsgate) Week 5; Last weekend #7

$2,000,0000 (-43%) in 1,964 (-390) theaters; PTA: $1,018; Cumulative: $49,033,000

9. Champions (Focus) Week 3; Last weekend #8

$1,540,000 (-50%) in 1,917 (-1,122) theaters; PTA: $803; Cumulative: $13,600,000

10. Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney) Week 15; Last weekend #9

$1,400,000 (-33%) in 935 (-255) theaters; PTA: $1,497; Cumulative: $680,441,000

A still from "The Lost King," the story of the discovery of King Richard III's bones.
“The Lost King”IFC Films

Other Specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed.

A Good Person (MGM) NEW – Metacritic: 49

$834,018 in 530 theaters; PTA: $1,574

The Lost King (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Toronto 2022

$575,000 in 753 theaters; PTA: $763

Tori and Lokita (Sideshow/Janus) NEW – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride 2022

$15,600 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,800

The Five Devils (MUBI) NEW – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Cannes 2022

$8,666 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,666

Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV (Greenwich) NEW – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Sundance 2023

$10,378 in 1 theater; PTA: $10,378

What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? (Abramorama) NEW

$5,093 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,093

The School of Magical Animals (Blue Fox) NEW

$150,729 in 301 theaters; PTA: $501

Moving On (Roadside Attractions) Week 2

$346,230 in 771 (+36) theaters; PTA: $449; Cumulative: $1,699,000

Inside (Focus) Week 2

$125,000 in 357 (no change) theaters; PTA: $350; Cumulative: $825,000

The Quiet Girl (Neon) Week 5

$127,000 in 146 (-88) theaters; Cumulative: $1,221,000

Return to Seoul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$87,125 in 87 (+47) theaters; Cumulative: $542,554

The Whale (A24) Week 16; also on VOD

$41,152 in 89 (-420) theaters;  Cumulative: $17,401,000

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) Week 53; also on PVOD

$445,429 in 607 (-1,026) theaters; Cumulative: $76,677,000

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