John Wick 5’ Back on the Table After Box Office Blowup

John Wick 5’ Back on the Table After Box Office Blowup

“We’re all going to take a tiny rest here and then scratch at ideas about whether there’s a credible way to get into five. But there’s no guarantee,” says Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president Joe Drake.

Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chair Joe Drake has announced that despite initial expectations, a fifth installment of the John Wick franchise is now being considered due to the tremendous success of John Wick: Chapter 4 at the global box office. Directed by Chad Stahelski and featuring Keanu Reeves reprising his role as the iconic assassin, the film garnered an impressive $73.8 million in domestic box office sales, along with positive reviews and an A CinemaScore from audiences. The international reception was equally remarkable, with a debut of $67.6 million from 71 markets, resulting in a global opening of $141.4 million, setting a new record for the series.

Despite the apparent demise of Keanu Reeves’ character at the end of John Wick: Chapter 4, the prospect of creating a fifth installment in the John Wick series is no longer being ruled out. Lionsgate’s Joe Drake recently mentioned to The Hollywood Reporter that the possibility of a John Wick 5 is now being considered, indicating that the franchise may continue to surprise audiences with its ongoing action-packed saga.

“There’s a will and there’s an openness. And you could certainly interpret that ending in different ways,” said Drake. “We’re all going to take a tiny rest here and then scratch at ideas about whether there’s a credible way to get into five. But there’s no guarantee.”

The possibility of a fifth John Wick film marks a potential change in direction for the creative team, as both director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves had previously believed that the fourth installment would bring an end to the franchise. Stahelski had even contemplated filming the fourth and fifth movies consecutively, but those plans were abandoned once the conclusion of Chapter 4 was determined. The decision to reconsider continuing the series indicates a shift in their initial stance.

According to Joe Drake, the chair of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski, the key figures behind the John Wick franchise, have a deep respect for the audience and a strong desire to maintain its integrity. Drake acknowledged the challenge of continuing the series without disappointing fans, recognizing the immense popularity of Keanu Reeves and the beloved character of John Wick. The creative team is aware of the high expectations and the importance of delivering a worthy continuation of the story.

Keanu Reeves is well aware of the significant achievement of John Wick 4’s domestic opening, which stands as the second-highest in his live-action career. The only film to surpass it is The Matrix Reloaded, which debuted with $91.8 million domestically in 2003. While Reeves has also found success in the animated realm with his role in Toy Story 4, which garnered $121 million in its domestic opening weekend in 2019, the impressive performance of John Wick 4 reinforces his status as a box office draw in the action genre.

While the future of John Wick 5 remains uncertain, Keanu Reeves will continue to be involved with the character in some capacity, although not necessarily in the lead role. He will be appearing in the upcoming spinoff film, Ballerina, which focuses on another determined assassin portrayed by Ana de Armas. The movie also features Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston, and the late Lance Reddick. Set to be released next year, Ballerina takes place between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4. Directed by Len Wiseman, the film expands the John Wick universe and offers fans a new perspective on the assassin-filled world.

“He is in Ballerina, interestingly, in a very strategic way. And we’re talking about a couple of others that he could certainly participate in,” said Drake. “I know that Chad has a bunch of really cool ideas.”

During their appearance at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival, Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski expressed a strong belief that John Wick’s character had met his demise. However, the editing of the final moments in Chapter 4 provides a degree of ambiguity, as Wick’s death is not definitively shown. This deliberate vagueness allows the filmmakers the flexibility to potentially bring back the character through a revelation that he faked his own death. This provides them with an opportunity to explore different narrative possibilities and potentially continue the franchise.

There is another potential option for the John Wick franchise, provided Keanu Reeves is interested in reprising the role. It involves creating a prequel that takes place before Wick’s retirement to lead a peaceful life with his wife. However, this would require Reeves to portray a much younger version of the character than we have seen thus far. Interestingly, during an interaction with an audience member at SXSW, Reeves was playfully reminded that he doesn’t seem to age. In response, Reeves, who is 58 years old, jokingly replied, “Yeah, man, I age. It’s happening, man.” This exchange acknowledges the age factor but leaves open the possibility for different storytelling avenues within the John Wick universe.

Drake hinted at the potential for a prequel, suggesting that the story could go even further back in time. The screening at SXSW played a crucial role in the successful marketing campaign, which was praised by industry peers. Led by Adam Fogelson, vice chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, along with JP Richards and Keri Moore, presidents of Motion Picture Group Marketing, the campaign emphasized that John Wick is a relatable character driven by love and personal tragedies, rather than a traditional superhero.

In a recent interview with THR prior to the film’s release, Stahelski expressed his and Reeves’ belief that this would be the conclusion, despite initial hesitation from Lionsgate. According to Stahelski, the studio’s response to the idea of killing off Wick was one of disbelief. However, Stahelski did leave the possibility of a fifth installment open, indicating that it was not completely out of the question.

“Wicks always, for some weird reason, always get the latest release date in Japan. It’s always like, three months later,” said the director in a separate interview, envisioning the process of brainstorming a potential fifth film. “Keanu and I will take the long trip to Tokyo, we’ll sit in the Imperial Hotel Scotch Bar and go, ‘What do you think?’ We’ll have a couple of 20-year-old whiskies and write some ideas on napkins. If those ideas stick, maybe we’ll make a movie.”

The potential for a fifth installment also exists within the realm of actors retiring from roles, only to make a comeback. In the world of entertainment, it is not uncommon for actors to return to characters they had previously announced they were retiring from.

Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore notes that despite the inconclusive future of the beloved and legendary hitman, it would be unwise to discount John Wick. He points out that many boxers, rock bands, and star athletes have announced retirement only to reverse their decisions. The incredible success of the latest installment further underscores the fact that fans worldwide are not ready to bid farewell to the iconic character known as the Baba Yaga. Dergarabedian emphasizes that the studio should also recognize this demand and continue exploring the possibilities for the franchise.

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