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‘John Wick 4’ seeks the best mass premiere of the franchise


Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” dominated the domestic box office this weekend with $73.5 million, according to studio estimates, a record debut for the action franchise starring Keanu Reeves.

The highly anticipated sequel topped early box office projections, which brought the film to $60 million to $70 million domestically. Internationally, “John Wick: Chapter 4” launched with $64 million for a global cumulative of $137.5 million.

By comparison, “John Wick” opened with $14.4 million domestically in 2014; “John Wick: Chapter 2” debuted with $30.4 million domestically in 2017; and “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” launched to $56.8 million domestically in 2019, according to measurement firm Comscore.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, the fourth installment in the “Wick” saga follows Reeves’ titular assassin on a mission to take down an underground criminal organization called the High Table. The film also stars Laurence Fishburne, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Scott Adkins, Ian McShane and singer Rina Sawayama in her big screen debut.

The latest entry in “Wick” earned a glowing 95% rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and an A rating from audiences surveyed by CinemaScore.

“This is globalized John Wick; is ‘The Wick Ultimatum,’” writes Times film critic Justin Chang.

“Jumping from sun-scorched Moroccan deserts to neon-lit Japanese courtyards to rain-soaked German open-air nightclub, the film unleashes all hell in grand globetrotting style. Even by the show’s standards, it’s an astonishingly staged and sustained panorama of violence. … Pleasant as it is, all this maximalist showmanship can feel like the antithesis of the elegant, artful economy of the first film.”

Shortly before the film hit theaters, Reeves and Stahelski dedicated “John Wick: Chapter 4” to Reddick, who died March 17 at his Los Angeles home. The 60-year-old actor had played Charon on the series “Wick” since its inception and makes his final appearance as Manhattan’s loyal concierge in “Chapter 4.”

At the film’s Los Angeles premiere on Monday, Stahelski recalled Reddick as “a great guy and a great human being,” while Reeves hailed him as an “extraordinary artist.”

“We were destroyed when it happened,” Stahelski told The Times. “Then we went up to Keanu’s room and had a full meeting and there was no talking, no decision made, everyone knew what to do. When you have so many people who love someone, you just know.”

Also new to theaters this weekend was IFC Films’ “The Lost King,” which grossed $575,000 at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates. Directed by Stephen Frears, the comedy stars Sally Hawkins as a dogged historian on a quest to uncover the remains of King Richard III.

“The Lost King” earned a solid 77% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has yet to receive a rating from audiences surveyed by CinemaScore.

“Towards the end, ‘The Lost King’ reveals a distinctly British obsession with royalty and propriety that doesn’t always translate with the same reverence abroad,” film critic Katie Walsh writes for the Tribune News Service.

“But the most important story that is told is that of discrimination and misinformation; that fact can become a fiction perpetrated for centuries.”

Next weekend, United Artists Releasing’s “A Good Person,” Variance Films’ “Spinning Gold,” Focus Features’ “A Thousand and One” and Paramount Pictures.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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