Lionsgate has dropped its third and final trailer for “John Wick: Chapter 4.” The Keanu Reeves-led action franchise is the brightest bright spot on Lionsgate’s theatrical slate and their most obvious hope for a 2023 breakout.
As with previous trailers, this one shows off new action scenes, new opponents and new comparative niche — at least to North American viewers — movie stars coming to the party.
To those in the know, the likes of Chinese action-god Donnie Yen (also seen by Americans in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Shanghai Knights” and “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”) and direct-to-DVD and VOD action king Scott Adkins (also seen by American theatergoers in “Doctor Strange” and “Expendables 2”) qualify as added value elements. The film will give these folks a higher-profile platform, at least in terms of mainstream Hollywood audiences, to show off their star power.
Clancy Brown showing up and subtly riffing on his “Highlander” appearance is for fans old enough to have kids who can buy an R-rated movie ticket sans parent or guardian.
Directed by Chad Stahelski, “John Wick: Chapter 4” sees the beleaguered not-so-retired hitman accepting an offer from the High Council to settle his life debt. The last three “Wick” flicks pulled near-unprecedented commercial growth, going from $88 million worldwide in 2014, to $171 million in 2017, to $322 million in 2019. In pre-COVID times, the big questions were whether a fourth chapter could continue that momentum and whether the franchise would expand its overseas muscle.
“Fast and Furious,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Resident Evil” and “Jason Bourne” all went supernova overseas on the fourth go-around but they weren’t dealing with pandemic-specific variables, a far less reliable Chinese marketplace, and a push toward streaming for general moviegoers that has only grown in the last few years.
Granted, presuming this fourth film didn’t cost that much more than the $75 million-budgeted “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” Lionsgate will likely be thrilled with grosses merely on par with that 2019 blockbuster. We’ll find out when “John Wick: Chapter 4” opens theatrically on March 24.