A strong March at the box office is set to reach its pinnacle this weekend with the hotly anticipated debut of John Wick: Chapter 4 as it aims for a new franchise high opening.
As a brand, Wick has continued to balloon in popularity with each installment since the 2014 origin earned a $14.4 million start onward to $43 million domestically. After a $30.4 million / $92.0 million showing from Chapter 2 in 2017, Chapter 3 – Parabellum continued the expansion with $56.8 million on opening weekend and a $171 million lifetime domestic haul in 2019.
Four years later, the franchise is achieving a rare feat with a fourth entry that again looks to best its predecessors at the box office. Most series tend to experience their box office peak around the third edition, though there have been notable exceptions of sustained improvement beyond three installments with rare breeds like the Mission: Impossible and Fast and Furious franchises. John Wick seems destined to be counted among them now.
Pre-sales for Chapter 4 are well ahead of the pace of Parabellum at the same point, which isn’t unexpected given the increasingly front-loaded nature of sequels. For more recent comparisons, the film is also out-tracking Creed III, Black Adam, and No Time to Die across social media and pre-sales observations. A Thursday preview gross in the vicinity of $8 million appears likely at this stage.
Even more encouraging than strong preview sales for Thursday is the share of weekend business being spread out for the two-hour-and-forty-nine-minute film. Pre-buys for Friday and beyond have accelerated in recent days, with independent sampling (as of Wednesday morning) pointing to an estimated 40 percent higher share of pre-sold business for Friday relative to Thursday, similar to Creed III‘s trends a few weeks ago.
Adding to the momentum of buzz recently has been a wave of stellar reviews, resulting in a 94 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 111 critics, as well as speculation that this may be the final time Keanu Reeves leads a film in the franchise — at least for a little while.
The unfortunate passing of actor Lance Reddick, known for his role as the Continental Hotel concierge in the Wick series, could also be a factor raising awareness and/or interest for the sequel this weekend.
Lionsgate is distributing the film at more than 3,800 locations domestically this weekend, including 1,675 premium format screens running the gamut of IMAX, Dolby, DBOX, 4DX, MX4D, RPX, and other PLFs.
The studio expects an opening weekend in the $65 million to $70 million range from North America alone.
All-time, the highest R-rated domestic March openers are represented by 2017’s Logan ($88.4 million), 2019’s Us ($71.1 million), and 2007’s 300 ($70.9 million). The highest of the post-pandemic era is Halloween Kills ($49.4 million).
Other Weekend and Holdover Notes
- Shazam! Fury of the Gods could benefit from no competition for the family audience, combined with a healthy 87 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it will lose the lion’s share of its premium screen footprint and those higher ticket prices to Wick.
- Male-driven films such as Creed III will be hit harder than others with the direct male audience competition from Wick.
- Although forecasts are not provided at this time, MGM and IFC Films are opening A Good Person (estimated at 500 locations) and The Lost King (estimated at 800), respectively.
John Wick: Chapter 4
Opening Weekend Range: $67 – 82 million
Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections
Current projection ranges call for a 27 to 46 percent increase from last weekend’s $87.1 million top ten aggregate.
|Film||Studio||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 26||Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed)||3-Day % Change from Last Wknd|
|John Wick: Chapter 4||Lionsgate||$74,300,000||$74,300,000||~3,800||NEW|
|Shazam! Fury of the Gods||Warner Bros. Pictures||$13,800,000||$51,100,000||~4,071||-54%|
|Scream VI||Paramount Pictures||$10,400,000||$91,900,000||~3,400||-40%|
|Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania||Disney & Marvel Studios||$2,800,000||$210,400,000||~2,000||-34%|
|65||Sony Pictures / Columbia||$2,700,000||$27,300,000||~2,700||-54%|
|Cocaine Bear||Universal Pictures||$2,100,000||$62,300,000||~2,300||-47%|
|Avatar: The Way of Water||Disney & 20th Century Studios||$1,500,000||$680,600,000||~1,000||-29%|
All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.
The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.
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