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‘John Wick 5’ back on the table after Box Office Blowup

[The following story contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4.]

Yes, Lionsgate is thinking John Wick is back.

John Wick: Chapter 4 It was widely expected to be the final installment in the main action franchise, but a fifth installment is back on the table following the film’s astounding opening at the global box office, according to Lionsgate film group president Joe Drake.

Directed by Chad Stahelski and returning Keanu Reeves in the titular role as the iconic assassin, the unstoppable action picture grossed a massive $73.8 million domestically after impeccable reviews and an A CinemaScore from audiences. The results were just as impressive overseas, where the film debuted with a resounding $67.6 million from 71 markets for a worldwide take-off of $141.4 million, a series record on all fronts.

Making a fifth episode of John Wick is no small challenge considering that Reeves’ character appears to die at the end of Chapter 4. But on Sunday, Drake told of Lionsgate The Hollywood Reporter that a John Wick 5 is no longer the issue. It’s a potential face for the creative team, as Stahelski has stated that he and Reeves were pretty sure it was the end. (They had previously considered making a fourth and fifth film back-to-back.)

“There is a will and there is openness. And you could certainly interpret that ending in different ways,” Drake said. “We’re all going to rest here for a while and then think about whether there’s a credible way to get into the five. But there is no guarantee.”

Drake commented, “Keanu and Chad are rightly very protective because they never want to mess with the public. So we definitely have our work cut out for us… Keanu is so loved and that character is so loved; that has not escaped his notice.”

That hasn’t gone unnoticed by Reeves either John Wick 4 is behind him the second-best domestic opening of his live-action career Reload the Matrixwhich started two decades ago in 2003 with $91.8 domestically. (On the animated side, Reeves was part of Pixar’s voice cast Toy story 4which grossed $121 million domestically during the first weekend of 2019).

Independently of John Wick 5‘s fate, there will be more Reeves as a character in the future, albeit not in the main role. He appears inside ballerina, the first spin-off of the series starring Ana de Armas as another determined assassin. Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston and the late Lance Reddick also star in the film, which is expected to hit theaters next year and is set between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum And John Wick: Chapter 4 and is directed by Len Wiseman.

“He’s in ballerina, interestingly enough, in a very strategic way. And we’re talking about a few others he could definitely participate in,” Drake said. “I know Chad has a lot of cool ideas.”

While Reeves and Stahelski sounded pretty sure that Baba Yaga passed away when they appeared at the recent South by Southwest Film & TV Festival, the editing of Chapter 4‘s final moments leave just enough vagueness (Wick isn’t shown clearly dead) to give the filmmakers some wiggle room if they want to bring him back with some sort of falsified reveal of his own death.

There’s also another possibility, should Reeves want to return to the role – making a prequel before Wick retires to settle down with his wife, although that would require Wick playing a much younger version of the character than we’d ever seen. Thankfully, as one SXSW audience member pointed out to Reeves, he doesn’t seem to be getting any older. “Yeah, man, I’m getting older,” Reeves, 58, replied wearily. “It happens, man.”

Drake alluded to a prequel as a possibility, noting, “You could definitely go sooner.” [with the story].”

That SXSW screening was key to the final push of a marketing campaign that was lauded even by rivals. Led by Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Vice Chairman Adam Fogelson alongside Motion Picture Group Marketing President JP Richards and Co-President Keri Moore, the campaign reinforced the fact that John Wick is a man – versus a superhero – whose journey is inspired by love and painful loss.

In a recent interview with THR Before the movie hit theaters, Stahelski stated that he and Reeves were pretty sure it was the end, despite Lionsgate’s hesitation. He said the studio’s response to killing off Wick was – in his words – “what the hell are you thinking?”

Still, Stahelski was not quite finished with a fifth appearance.

Wicks always, for some weird reason, always get the latest release date in Japan. It’s always like three months later,” the director said in a separate interview, imagining how they could come up with a fifth. “Keanu and I will make the long trip to Tokyo, we’ll sit in the Imperial Hotel Scotch Bar and say, ‘What do you think?’ We’ll take a few 20-year-old whiskeys and write some ideas on napkins, and if those ideas stick, we might make a movie.”

The possibility of a fifth also comes in a world where many actors have seemingly retired to come back.

Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore notes: “Many boxers, rock bands and star athletes have announced their retirements, only to change their mind, so while the future of the most beloved and legendary assassin is unclear, it would be unwise to count John Wick . at this point and given the incredible success of this latest installment, it’s abundantly clear that fans around the world aren’t ready to say au revoir to the great Baba Yaga. Neither does the studio.”

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