Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 shot up the Friday box office with $29.4 million from 3,855 theaters, including a huge $8.9 million in Thursday previews.
The fourth installment in the marquee Lionsgate action franchise is now on course to open to $70 million-plus from 3,895 theaters, a franchise-best and more than enough to kill off the competition, including holdover Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
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Keanu Reeves once again stars as the expert assassin nicknamed Baba Yaga.
To date, 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum boasts the biggest domestic opening of the series at $56.8 million after earning $5.9 million in Thursday previews, not adjusted for inflation.
John Wick 4 has plenty going in its favor: Reeves is as popular as ever, while critics adore the pic. Its current critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes rests at an impressive 96 percent, the best ranking of any John Wick title (the three previous pics all hovered in the mid-to-high 80 percent range).
One challenge: John Wick 4′s running time is just shy of three hours, meaning fewer show times, although audiences don’t seem to mind. The movie received an A CinemaScore.
Directed by Chad Stahelski, the film is jam-packed with the usual mayhem, violence, balletic physicality and morbid humor that have come to define the action franchise. The cast also features Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Rina Sawayama, Ian McShane and the late Lance Reddick, who died earlier this month. The film is produced by Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee and Stahelski.
Internationally, the movie debuts this weekend in 71 territories worldwide, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico.
The lucrative Lionsgate franchise has grossed nearly $590 million at the worldwide box office. By Sunday, that number should be north of $700 million. John Wick took in a global total of $86.1 million; John Wick: Chapter 2 grossed $174.3 million; and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum hit $328.3 million.
John Wick 4 is a Thunder Road Films/87eleven entertainment production.
Shazam 2, from Warner Bros., could fall off a steep 69 percent in its second outing to an estimated $9 million for 10-day domestic total of just $45 million. It looks to place No. 2, followed by Paramount and Spyglass’ Scream VI with a hearty $8.9 million for a domestic tally of $90 million-plus.
MGM’s Creed III will come in a strong No. 4 with an estimated $8.3 million for a domestic total of $140.6 million through Sunday.
March 25, 7:20 a.m. Updated with Friday grosses and estimated totals.
An original version of this story was published March 24 at 7:30 a.m.
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