No doubt, Disney and Marvel made the most money at the box office in summer 2019, but Keanu Reeves took them out in some key ways. The Keanussance was real — although no one told Replicas earlier in the year — and helped elevate John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum to be arguably the biggest winner of this year’s summer box office.
Since Hollywood considers summer to be over after Labor Day weekend, the box office gurus at Exhibitor Relations Co. shared the list of top summer 2019 movies worldwide (not counting releases earlier in the year like Captain Marvel):
John Wick 3 just barely made the top 10, but it also almost took out Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Keep in mind, John Wick 3 was made on a roughly $75 million production budget. That’s less than everything else on this list, helping John Wick 3 achieve big winner status. (Side note to marvel at Aladdin making as much as Toy Story 4. Never saw that coming.)
Godzilla 2 had a budget around $170 million. Even Secret Life of Pets 2 cost more to make than John Wick 3 with a roughly $80M budget. The Detective Pikachu budget was reported to be $150 million. Hobbs & Shaw reportedly cost $200 million to make, and I’m assuming a big chunk went to the stars. The top five are MCU or Disney movies. The Lion King’s budget was reported to be around $260 million, and I’m seeing a production budget of [wipes glasses] is that $356 million for Avengers: Endgame? Apparently that’s not including Infinity War, which was briefly called Part 1. Can you imagine a What If? MCU scenario where Endgame tanked? Imagine the money lost. Instead, it’s the top-grossing movie of all time.
But what about tickets sold? That’s another puppy entirely. If you mosey over to this list, you’ll see John Wick 3 breathing the same rarefied air of the summer’s two MCU movies. They are the only sequels to sell more tickets, domestically, than previous films:
How ’bout that? And, as some fans have noted, John Wick: Chapter 3 actually made more money than the first two John Wick films combined. That’s true for both its domestic box office and the worldwide totals, per Box Office Mojo:
Not even Avengers: Endgame can boast that it made more than the previous two Avengers movies combined. Love THAT 3000.
Every franchise likes to show growth, but the success of John Wick 3 was still a bit surprising. Those are heartening numbers to any studio, though, and it’s no wonder Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said John Wick 3’s success showed there is a future for mid-priced action films even in this crazy competitive big-budget superhero market.
So John Wick not only slayed a super competitive summer, his movie’s success probably gave renewed hope to other non-blockbuster-budget action movies in development.
No shock, John Wick 4 has already been announced and it already has a release date. That was not inevitable, but since fans clearly enjoyed Parabellum and kept going back for more as late as Labor Day weekend, The Powers That Be decided to make a fourth movie.
As long as the seemingly ageless Keanu Reeves stays healthy and in such great shape, he can conceivably keep making these movies forever. As long as Chad Stahelski keeps coming up with decent stories to tell, and awesome stunts to pull off, why not?