Image courtesy of TMDB
John Wick Strikes Again: The Unstoppable Franchise's Fourth Chapter Hits Box Office Records

John Wick Strikes Again: The Unstoppable Franchise's Fourth Chapter Hits Box Office Records

Josh Loewen
Josh Loewen
May 25, 2023

John Wick: Chapter 4, directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, is the highly anticipated fourth installment in the John Wick franchise. Following the success of John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, this neo-noir action thriller continues the thrilling journey of the legendary hitman, John Wick, portrayed by the iconic Keanu Reeves. Alongside Reeves, the film features an ensemble cast that includes Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Clancy Brown, and Ian McShane.

In John Wick 4, we witness John Wick's relentless pursuit of revenge against the High Table and those who left him for dead. The film takes viewers on an action-packed ride as Wick sets out to dismantle the powerful organization that seeks to control the underground world of assassins. With its sleek and stylish action sequences, intense fight scenes, and captivating storytelling, the John Wick franchise has garnered a dedicated fan base.

Development of John Wick: Chapter 4 was confirmed by Lionsgate even before the release of its predecessor, and it marks the first film in the franchise not written by Derek Kolstad, the creator of the series. Principal photography took place from June to October 2021, with filming locations including France, Germany, New York City, and Japan. Initially scheduled for release in May 2021, the film's premiere was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. John Wick: Chapter 4 premiered in London on March 6, 2023, and was released in the United States on March 24.

With positive reviews from critics and a worldwide box office gross of over $428 million, John Wick: Chapter 4 has become the highest-grossing film in the franchise, further solidifying its position as a fan-favorite action franchise. In this article, we will delve into the plot, cast, action sequences, filming locations, critical reception, and the future of the John Wick franchise, providing readers with an in-depth exploration of this thrilling cinematic universe.

Image courtesy of TMDB

From Hitman to Hit Franchise: Exploring the John Wick Saga So Far

The latest chapter in the John Wick saga, titled John Wick: Chapter 4, continues the exhilarating journey of the titular hitman. Played by Keanu Reeves, John Wick seeks vengeance against the High Table and those who betrayed him. This fourth installment in the franchise takes the story to new heights, showcasing John Wick's relentless pursuit of retribution.

In the previous films, audiences were introduced to John Wick, a retired hitman who was pulled back into the criminal underworld after the death of his wife and the killing of his dog. The first film, released in 2014, established the character's motivations and showcased his skills as a highly trained assassin. John's quest for revenge against the Russian mob led him on a violent and action-packed journey.

The second film, released in 2017, picked up shortly after the events of the first installment. John is reluctantly drawn into fulfilling a blood oath with Santino D'Antonio, a powerful crime lord, leading him to Rome to eliminate Santino's sister. However, this decision has severe consequences for John, as he becomes the target of numerous assassins and finds himself excommunicated from the underworld.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, released in 2019, continued the story as John Wick fought for survival and sought allies in his desperate attempt to escape the relentless pursuit of assassins. The film expanded the world of the franchise, introducing new characters and exploring the intricate hierarchy of the High Table, the secretive organization that governs the underworld.

With the stage set by the previous films, John Wick: Chapter 4 takes the story to new heights. John Wick sets out on a mission of revenge against the High Table and its members who left him for dead. The film introduces new cast members, including Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and Rina Sawayama, who join the returning cast members such as Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick.

The plot unfolds as John Wick travels to various locations, including Morocco and New York City, engaging in intense action sequences and engaging in deadly confrontations. The film delves into the consequences of John's actions and explores the complex dynamics of power within the criminal underworld.

John Wick: Chapter 4 received positive reviews from critics and achieved great success at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film in the franchise and one of the top-grossing films of 2023. With its breathtaking action sequences, intricate choreography, and compelling storyline, the film continues to captivate audiences and solidify John Wick as one of the most iconic and beloved action heroes of recent times.

As the fourth installment in the franchise, John Wick: Chapter 4 builds upon the established lore and propels the narrative forward, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the future of the series. With its successful reception, the film sets the stage for potential future installments, spin-offs, and further exploration of the rich and exciting world of John Wick.

The A-List of Assassins: Meet the Cast and Characters of John Wick 4

In "John Wick 4," fans can expect to see a mix of returning main cast members and new faces joining the franchise. Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the titular character, John Wick, a legendary hitman and assassin who is now being hunted by the High Table. Reeves' portrayal of Wick has made him a fan favorite, showcasing his exceptional skills and relentless determination.

Ian McShane returns as Winston, the manager of the New York Continental Hotel and a close ally of John Wick. Winston provides support and assistance to Wick throughout his journey, although their relationship becomes complicated as the story unfolds.

Laurence Fishburne reprises his role as the Bowery King, a former crime boss who was betrayed by the High Table. Fishburne's character reluctantly aids Wick in his mission for vengeance and plays a significant role in the escalating conflict.

Lance Reddick portrays Charon, the concierge at the Continental Hotel. Charon is a loyal friend to Wick and assists him with various services, showcasing his professionalism and resourcefulness.

Image courtesy of TMDB

Joining the cast is Donnie Yen as Caine, a blind High Table assassin and an old friend of John Wick. Forced out of retirement, Caine is tasked with killing Wick to ensure the safety of his daughter. Yen's martial arts expertise brings an exciting dynamic to the film.

Bill Skarsgård plays the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, a powerful member of the High Table whose position is challenged by John Wick. Skarsgård's portrayal promises a complex and deceitful villain who poses a significant threat to Wick.

Hiroyuki Sanada joins the cast as Shimazu Koji, the manager of the Osaka Continental Hotel and an old friend of both John Wick and Caine. Sanada's character provides insights into Wick's past and offers guidance and wisdom.

Shamier Anderson portrays Mr. Nobody, also known as The Tracker, a bounty hunter pursuing John Wick. Anderson's character adds an element of suspense and conflict as he relentlessly pursues Wick.

Other notable cast members include Rina Sawayama as Shimazu Akira, Koji's daughter and concierge of the Osaka Continental; Scott Adkins as Killa Harkan, the head of the German Table; Clancy Brown as the Harbinger, a high-ranking operative of the High Table; and Natalia Tena as Katia, John Wick's adoptive sister.

With this diverse and talented cast, "John Wick 4" promises an intense and action-packed continuation of the franchise, with new characters and conflicts adding depth to the story. Fans can look forward to witnessing the performances and character developments of both the returning and new cast members in this highly anticipated installment.

Image courtesy of TMDB

Reloaded and Revenged: The Action and Stunts of John Wick 4

The action and stunts in "John Wick 4" are set to deliver an exhilarating experience for fans. Keanu Reeves, known for his dedication to performing his own stunts, underwent months of intense training to prepare for his role. Reeves trained with 87eleven Action Design, a renowned stunt team, to improve his fighting technique and ensure authenticity in his on-screen performance. The actor's previous training in boxing, Karate, Judo, and jiu-jitsu proved valuable, enhancing his versatility in combat.

One of the distinctive aspects of the action in "John Wick 4" is the focus on long action takes, eschewing quick cuts and editing tricks. Director Chad Stahelski aimed to create elaborate sequences that required complex choreography, resulting in visually stunning fighting sequences and car chases. The intricate choreography and the use of practical effects provide an immersive and realistic experience for viewers.

Reeves also trained in "Gun fu," a fighting style that combines firearms and martial arts. This style, popularized by the "John Wick" franchise, adds a unique dynamic to the action scenes, showcasing Wick's resourcefulness in using any weapon at his disposal. Reeves trained with specialists in tactical weapons handling to ensure his portrayal of Wick's proficiency with firearms was convincing and accurate.

In addition to hand-to-hand combat and firearm skills, Reeves also underwent horse riding training for scenes that feature Wick on horseback. Stuntman Tad Griffith taught him various techniques, including trick riding, allowing Reeves to perform daring maneuvers while mounted. The horse riding scenes were filmed both in the desert and in unexpected locations like Brooklyn.

The action in "John Wick 4" extends beyond fighting and shooting. The movie features high-speed car chases, where Reeves had to learn new driving skills, such as performing reverse 180 turns while shooting and reloading simultaneously. Though professional stunt driver Stephen Fry handled the most dangerous stunts, Reeves actively participated in learning the necessary techniques to make the scenes believable.

The dedication of the entire stunt team, including fight choreographer Jeremy Marinas, contributed to the success of the action sequences in "John Wick 4." Marinas, drawing from his extensive experience in over 60 films and television shows, brought his expertise to develop the fighting styles and choreography for new characters introduced in the movie. Notably, martial arts icon Donnie Yen joins the cast, portraying a lethal foe named Caine. Yen's background and skill as a Chinese martial artist influenced Caine's fighting style, which blends elements of jujitsu and other techniques.

With its intense and meticulously choreographed action sequences, "John Wick 4" promises to deliver another thrilling installment in the franchise. The commitment of Keanu Reeves and the entire stunt team to realism and authenticity in their performances ensures that audiences will be captivated by the on-screen action.

Image courtesy of TMDB

Globe-Trotting with Wick: Visiting Exquisite Locations in John Wick 4

In "John Wick: Chapter 4," the franchise takes a departure from its usual gritty and dark settings, opting for visually stunning and bustling locations worldwide. The film showcases a shift from empty warehouses and dimly lit apartments to vibrant and beautiful locales. Even an extended exposition sequence takes place in a magnificent art museum where characters discuss plot points against the backdrop of giant paintings. This emphasis on visually pleasing environments sets "John Wick: Chapter 4" apart from its predecessors and adds to the cinematic splendor of the movie.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-specific restrictions and a budget that is lower than typical MCU installments, the production team managed to deliver a visually spectacular action-adventure film. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen, known for his work on Guillermo del Toro's films, aimed to blend arthouse aesthetics with grindhouse action in order to create a visually stunning experience. Laustsen and director Chad Stahelski decided to focus on a strong color palette, specifically green and amber, to complement the shooting locations of Berlin and Paris, which tend to be dark at night.

The choice of locations plays a crucial role in the film's visual appeal. The production team traveled to various cities, including Berlin, Paris, Japan, and the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. Each location offers its own unique atmosphere and contributes to the international scope of the story. From the epic landscapes of the desert reminiscent of "Lawrence of Arabia" to the contemporary architecture of Osaka, the film immerses viewers in diverse settings that enhance the overall cinematic experience.

In terms of camera work and action sequences, the team aimed for a more classical approach, utilizing wide shots and minimal camera movement. The goal was to create a sense of choreography and allow the action to unfold in a clear and visually appealing manner. However, there were instances where the use of handheld shots and the incorporation of Steadicam were necessary to capture specific sequences, such as the car garage scene. The team strived to strike a balance between dynamic camera work and maintaining visual coherence.

The production of "John Wick: Chapter 4" faced numerous challenges, especially in coordinating complex action sequences and implementing practical effects. The team sought to minimize the use of CGI and instead relied on practical setups and real locations whenever possible. One notable example is a fight scene set in a nightclub amid a waterfall, where most of the water was real, requiring meticulous lighting and coordination between the camera, actors, and crew.

The ambitious production of "John Wick: Chapter 4" showcases the franchise's growth in scale and visual opulence. The film's commitment to delivering breathtaking visuals and engaging action sequences demonstrates the dedication of the creative team. By exploring new and exciting locations, the film expands the world of John Wick and raises the bar for Hollywood action movies.

Overall, the filming locations and production of "John Wick: Chapter 4" contribute significantly to the film's visual appeal and help create an immersive experience for viewers. The team's attention to detail, use of striking color palettes, and innovative camera work elevate the movie's production value and further establish the "John Wick" franchise as a leader in cinematic spectacle.

Image courtesy of TMDB

The Box Office Continental: John Wick 4's Record-Breaking Success

The box office performance of "John Wick: Chapter 4" has been exceptional, breaking numerous records within the franchise and beyond. As of May 23, 2023, the film has grossed $185.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $243 million in other territories, resulting in a worldwide total of $428.6 million. 

During its opening weekend, "John Wick: Chapter 4" was projected to gross $65–70 million from 3,855 theaters in the United States and Canada. The film exceeded expectations by earning $29.4 million on its first day, including $8.9 million from Thursday night previews, which was the best in the series and the best of any R-rated film since March 2020. The movie went on to debut at $73.8 million, becoming the highest-grossing opening weekend of the franchise. It also marked the best opening weekend for Lionsgate and any R-rated film since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing even "Halloween Kills." Furthermore, it was the second-highest opening weekend of the year at the time, following "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." In its second and third weekends, the film made $28.3 million and $14.6 million, respectively.

Internationally, "John Wick: Chapter 4" grossed $64 million from 71 markets in its opening weekend. In the following weekends, it made $35 million and $21.5 million, respectively. Notable top-grossing territories included the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Australia, and CIS.

The success of "John Wick: Chapter 4" at the box office can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, it follows the franchise's trend of each sequel surpassing the opening weekend box office of its predecessor. Each installment has consistently achieved higher opening numbers, demonstrating the growing popularity and anticipation for each new chapter.

The film's outstanding critical reception also contributed to its box office triumph. "John Wick: Chapter 4" received stellar reviews, earning a Certified Fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is the highest rating in the franchise, surpassing the previous films' scores. The positive reviews generated significant buzz and encouraged audiences to watch the movie, amplifying its box office performance.

Additionally, the inclusion of a major franchise-changing character death created significant intrigue and anticipation among fans. Such plot developments often generate increased interest and drive more viewers to theaters, as seen with other successful franchise films.

The action sequences in "John Wick: Chapter 4" are regarded as the franchise's best yet, showcasing Keanu Reeves' exceptional skills in the action genre. The film's visually striking set pieces and choreographed fight scenes further enhanced its appeal, attracting both action enthusiasts and general moviegoers.

Another factor that contributed to the film's box office success is its exclusive theatrical release. Unlike many films that have simultaneous releases on streaming platforms, "John Wick: Chapter 4" did not have an expected streaming release date in the near future. This encouraged audiences to experience the movie on the big screen, further boosting its theatrical performance.

Lastly, the "John Wick" franchise has established itself as a cinematic experience best enjoyed in theaters. The unique style, grand scale, and non-stop action of the series create an immersive and thrilling experience that resonates with audiences. The reputation of the franchise and the promise of an even more intense and action-packed installment in "John Wick: Chapter 4" compelled viewers to see the film on the big screen.

Overall, the exceptional box office performance of "John Wick: Chapter 4" can be attributed to its franchise's increasing popularity, outstanding reviews, impactful storyline, breathtaking action sequences, exclusive theatrical

Unveiling Wick's Wonderland: Easter Eggs and Movie References in John Wick 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 is filled with Easter eggs and hidden details that add depth to the franchise. Despite being an original creation with no pre-existing IP, the John Wick movies incorporate various references and connections to previous installments, building on the established world and mythology. The fourth installment of the series takes advantage of its multi-continental setting to establish connections to past films, reference prior events, and continue franchise trends.

One Easter egg in John Wick 4 is the mention of the death of The Elder from John Wick 3. This character, played by Saïd Taghmaoui in the previous film, is replaced by a new Elder, portrayed by George Georgiou. Another detail is the absence of John's wedding ring, which was lost when he severed his finger in John Wick: Chapter 3 as a symbol of recommitting himself to the High Table.

Clancy Brown's character Harbinger, in John Wick 4, is depicted with four fingers on one hand, mirroring John Wick's hand after the events of John Wick 3. This detail implies that even high-ranking members of the High Table, like Harbinger, had to prove their loyalty by sacrificing a finger. The movie also features a significant time jump, with director Chad Stahelski indicating that John Wick 4 takes place approximately seven to eight months after the events of John Wick 3.

The cast additions in John Wick 4 also provide interesting connections. Donnie Yen, who plays the blind assassin Caine, previously portrayed Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, another skilled blind character. Rina Sawayama, known as an international pop star, makes her feature film debut as Akira in John Wick 4. Additionally, the armored soldiers in the movie's Osaka Continental raid include references to Japanese samurai and warriors, featuring masks with faces inspired by Japanese mythology.

The film incorporates other Easter eggs, such as the mention of John Wick's birth name, Jardani, and the presence of real-life artworks in the Louvre, including Liberty Leading the People and The Raft of the Medusa. The appearance of a ballerina on stage hints at a potential connection to Ana de Armas' upcoming Ballerina spinoff movie. Furthermore, John Wick's love for black muscle cars continues in John Wick 4, and a driving sequence at the Arc de Triomphe pays homage to a similar scene in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Lastly, the introduction of guns that fire explosive bullets references Game of Thrones, as they are named Taran Tactical, inspired by the popular HBO series.

These Easter eggs and references in John Wick 4 contribute to the overall interconnectedness of the franchise and offer fans a deeper appreciation for the world-building and attention to detail in the series. They demonstrate the filmmakers' commitment to providing a rich and immersive experience for audiences, while also teasing potential future developments and spin-offs within the John Wick universe.

Forging the Wickverse: The Future of the Franchise and Spinoffs

After the success of "John Wick 4," the franchise is set to continue expanding with a number of planned movies and spin-offs. One of the upcoming projects is "John Wick: Chapter 5," which was promptly announced after the success of "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum." While there is no official release date or filming schedule yet, the announcement of a fifth installment indicates Lionsgate's belief in the franchise's potential. It is unclear whether Keanu Reeves will return in a flashback capacity or if the focus will shift to a new protagonist, such as Akira (Rina Sawayama), as hinted in the post-credits scene of "John Wick 4."

In addition to "John Wick: Chapter 5," there are several spin-offs and related projects in the works. One of them is "The Continental," a prequel show based on the chain of hotels owned by the powerful High Table. The show will explore the early days of the hotel and provide origin stories for multiple movie characters. Colin Woodell will star as a young Winston, and the series is set to premiere on Peacock in September 2023.

Another spin-off in development is "Ballerina," a female-led John Wick spin-off. Ana de Armas will play the lead role of Rooney, a female assassin seeking vengeance for her family's murders. The film will take place between "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" and "John Wick 4" and will feature the return of characters like the Director (Anjelica Huston), Winston (Ian McShane), and Charon (Lance Reddick).

Image courtesy of TMDB

There are also rumors of a spin-off focused on Sophia Al-Azwar, played by Halle Berry, who appeared in "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum." While there is currently no official information or development updates on this project, Berry has hinted at the possibility of a Sophia spin-off.

Additionally, there has been talk of a crossover between the John Wick franchise and the film "Nobody," which shares the same creator, Derek Kolstad. Although no concrete plans have been announced, Kolstad has expressed openness to the idea of shared universes and connections between the two films.

Overall, the future of the John Wick franchise looks promising, with multiple projects in the pipeline, including "John Wick: Chapter 5," "The Continental," "Ballerina," and potentially a Sophia spin-off. The franchise's continued success and creative fulfillment will likely determine the direction and extent of future projects, as Keanu Reeves has expressed his willingness to continue as long as the franchise remains successful. Fans can expect more thrilling action and expansion of the rich John Wick universe in the years to come.

The Final Bullet: Wrapping up Wick's Saga

In conclusion, "John Wick: Chapter 4" delivers on the high expectations set by its predecessors, offering a thrilling and action-packed continuation of the franchise. With its sleek and stylish action sequences, intense fight scenes, and captivating storytelling, the film has garnered positive reviews from critics and achieved great success at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film in the John Wick franchise.

The movie takes viewers on a relentless journey as John Wick seeks revenge against the powerful High Table and those who left him for dead. With an ensemble cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and Laurence Fishburne, among others, the performances are compelling and add depth to the story.

The dedication of Keanu Reeves and the entire stunt team to realism and authenticity in their performances is evident in the breathtaking action and stunts. From the meticulously choreographed fight scenes to the high-speed car chases, the film delivers an exhilarating experience that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.

The visually stunning locations, including Berlin, Paris, Japan, and the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, contribute to the film's visual appeal and immerse viewers in diverse settings that enhance the overall cinematic experience. The production team's commitment to practical effects and real locations further elevates the film's production value and sets a new standard for Hollywood action movies.

With its worldwide box office gross of over $428 million, "John Wick: Chapter 4" solidifies its position as a fan-favorite action franchise and leaves fans eagerly anticipating the future of the series. As the franchise continues to expand and explore the rich and exciting world of John Wick, viewers are sure to enjoy the further expansion of the world.

In conclusion, "John Wick: Chapter 4" is a must-watch for fans of the franchise and action movie enthusiasts alike. With its gripping storyline, exceptional performances, breathtaking action sequences, and visually stunning locations, the film delivers an unforgettable cinematic experience. So grab your popcorn and immerse yourself in the thrilling world of John Wick.

Image courtesy of TMDB

Other news that might interest you

Always know what’s new on Netflix

Bookmark us as your source of the latest Netflix content.