John Wick: Chapter 4 is one of the best action films of the year, and no DC/Marvel argument can come to top that (only Tom Cruise can reasonably challenge with Mission Impossible 7 in the summer). The fourth installment in a franchise where “former hitman returns to criminal life” destroyed all expectations in its debut with a $73.5 million domestic opening and $137.5 million worldwide start. That’s a potent 2.5x domestic weekend multiplier and the largest R-rated launch since Joker in 2019. Assuming an acceptable rate of descent with post-legs, it should end around $215-230 million domestically and Lionsgate’s biggest earner (outside of The Hunger Games and Twilight). Even with the rating and 165-minute runtime make it more prominent in its opening than any other Mission Impossible and Bourne selection and several James Bond features.
With this debut and the recent showcases of Scream 6, M3GAN, Cocaine Bear, and Creed 3, we’ve started to paint a picture that audience taste might be pushing back more toward original and less-selective IPs compared to the superhero crusade that has powered the box office for the past eleven years. A welcome change, and perhaps the one that was initially planned for 2020 and beyond until fate struck our world in the most pernicious ways. Fortunately, all seems to be returning to pre-COVID times with some standouts and a (relatively) improved reception. Keanu Reeves might have catapulted himself into that realm where Will Smith, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise reside in terms of box-office attractions. Perhaps John Wick: Chapter Five shall open the multiverse or something.
Moving onto the superhero discussion, Shazam! Fury of the Gods tanked in its second weekend with a 69% drop ($9.7 million). It’s a rather dismal turnout for this sequel, which didn’t deserve such measures. The feature slid past $100 million worldwide and earned $46.3 million domestically. With its run ending at around $65-70 million domestically, it may cast a shadow over Zachary Levi’s intentions to return to the DC canon, especially after news reports surfaced about Dwayne Johnson’s refusal to be a part of this sub-series. The superhero business has stumbled for the opening quarter of 2023 (Ant-Man 3 had its mistakes and will not pass its predecessors worldwide), so the hope is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and The Flash will restore them. If not, Bob Iger and James Gunn must reassess their outputs for the comic book-adaption genre.
Scream 6 dropped 52% in its third weekend, putting its domestic total around $89.9 million. It should be past $100 million domestically by Weds/Thurs, and has already passed its predecessor in terms of box office worldwide. The next call-up with the star cast will be inevitable. Creed 3 dropped 46% in its fourth weekend, holding $140 million domestically and $237 million worldwide. It has soared past every unadjusted gross of all past Rocky and Creed features and should be on track to fight Rocky III & IV for global earnings. It’s still a grand victory for Michael B. Jordan; the same can’t be said for Jonathan Majors, as he’s currently trying to resolve issues after being arrested this weekend for a “physical altercation” in New York. More news will surface soon.
Next weekend sees the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.