Five Reasons The ‘John Wick’ Franchise Can’t Be Stopped

John Wick refuses to die.

It might seem obvious after hundreds and hundreds of hitmen tried to erase him from the first three films in the franchise.

Emphasis on “tried”.

The franchise is as vital as the monosyllabic star of Keanu Reeves. The fourth film in the saga is set to cross the $70 million mark this weekend, a bigger opening than the previous “Wick” deal.

Here’s a look at previous “Wick” movies’ opening weekend numbers and overall runs, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

  • “John Wick” (2014) – Opening: $14.4 million / $43 million
  • “John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017) – Opening: $39 million/$92 million
  • “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019) – Opening: $56 million/$171 million
  • “John Wick: Chapter 4” (2023) – Opening: $70+ million/???

Why are some franchises stagnating, like the “Terminator” saga, while others are growing stronger, more commercially viable?

In the case of the “Wick” saga, the answers are clear.

Keanu Goodwill Visit

Quick, name a salacious news story tied to the superstar “Wick.” Good luck. Now, Google has always delighted Reeves fans, said something positive, or brightened our world.

Give it a few minutes. It can take some time.

Tom Cruise’s charm offensive has helped him navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic, and Reeves’ notorious kindness can only boost the saga’s fortunes. Plus, knowing that the killing machine at the heart of the franchise is an old, real-life softie makes the crunchy action all the more satisfying.

Find the formula. Deliver the formula.

“Wick” films take few cinematic risks. They’ve never gotten into culture wars, refuse to embrace the waking mind bug, and stick to what works best for Wick and co. Stock. More action. Crazy action. And lavish sets to bring that action out of the screen.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is beautiful to behold…when you look past the piles of dead assassins.

The saga took a page from the “Furious” and “Mission: Impossible” playbooks. Both franchises needed a few movies to settle into the right plane. In the case of “Wick”, this happened as early as the opening film.

don’t keep us waiting

It’s been four years since the last episode of “Wick,” but that had more to do with COVID-19 than anything else. The franchise regularly produces feature films – four in the past nine years. Compare that to the Bond franchise, which is much more methodical in its release pace. The recent “Avatar: The Way of the Water” hit theaters 13 years after the original.

A clever franchise strikes as the cinematic iron is hot.

Winston, Charon and more

John Wick can’t do it all on his own. He needs collaborators, rivals and threats to get his story off the ground. Enter Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick and most recently Bill Skarsgard.

The talented co-stars bring texture, vitality, and even fear to the franchise.

The cast all play critical roles on the show, from foes like Caine (Donnie Yen) to longtime allies (McShane’s Winston). Some, like Halle Berry’s Sofia Al-Azwar, are calling for a franchise of their own.

honor among killers

This is the main reason why Hollywood keeps churning out hit man movies. Yes, they are professional killers who lose little sleep over the people they kill.

They always follow strict codes of conduct. They never arbitrarily kill strangers, at least the best killers don’t. They respect each other and the rules of their different organizations.

Yen’s character is tasked with killing John Wick in the fourth episode, but the two share a close bond and the mission isn’t easy for him to take on. He accepts it anyway, understanding that his old friend will appreciate the reasons.

No hard feelings among professional killers.


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