After three weeks in the top spot, Avengers: Endgame, has now passed Avatar to become the second highest grossing film ever in the United States and Titanic to become the second-highest grossing film ever worldwide (behind only Avatar). However, it has also finally hit an iceberg, this one in the form of Keanu Reeves. The third film in the John Wick series, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, has managed a rare feat at the box office, improving upon the first two entries. They weren’t small improvements, either. The first film opened with $14 million, the second film managed $30 million in its opening weekend, and Parabellum debuts with a whopping $57.02 million, which is $14 million more the entire domestic run of the original John Wick. The film also crushed it internationally, ranking number one in 53 of the 66 markets where the film opened and racking up a total of $92.225 million worldwide.
We don’t often see films like John Wick anymore, which start small but find larger audiences in digital distribution who come out for second and third installments. It helps, of course, that the films are very good, beloved by both audiences and critics. The third installment received an 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the same as the second installment, and three percentage points better than the original. Audiences, too, got exactly what they wished, giving the third film an A- Cinemascore. When it comes to John Wick films, audiences don’t ask for much: Keanu Reeves shooting people in the face. Everything else, including the world building and the typically stellar roster of supporting and character actors (Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillon, Angelica Huston, Mark Dacascos), is gravy.
Honestly, despite the dark and violent subject material of the films, everyone wants Keanu Reeves to succeed, and these John Wick movies bring out the best in Keanu’s supportive audience — there’s something very underdog about both the films and the actor. Keanu himself, of course, doesn’t hurt, and each time he promotes a big movie like this, heartwarming stories about the kindness and graciousness of Keanu Reeves spill out on social media. After over three decades in the business, Keanu’s reputation remains blemish-free, and there’s very few major Hollywood figures for whom we can say that. He is fun to root for.
Meanwhile, Avengers: Endgame did finally fall to number two this weekend, earning $29.4 million. However, it can take solace in the fact that it has earned $770 million at the domestic box office, so far, and over $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, as it continues to creep up on Avatar’s worldwide record of $2.7 billion. Meanwhile, last weekend’s number two film, Detective Pikachu, fell down a notch to number three, earning $24.8 million to bring its 10-day total to $94 million. It should cross the $100 million mark before next weekend, and it is doing gangbusters worldwide, too, outpacing its domestic totals. Worldwide, it should be close to $300 million after this weekend. Sequels are all but guaranteed at this point.
The number four position went to A Dog’s Journey, which is not a sequel to A Dog’s Way Home out earlier this year, but it is a sequel to the 2017 sleeper hit, A Dog’s Purpose. Unfortunately, Journey’s $9 million opening is only half the $18 million opening of A Dog’s Purpose, but the original did manage to triple its budget with $64 million, so I wouldn’t completely count out A Dog’s Journey despite its slow start.
The bottom five movies, combined, earned less than the number three movie Detective Pikachu, which again goes to show audiences how much event films dominate the box office in the summer, practically wiping out the smaller competition, even those with $30-$40 million budgets. That is largely true of Anne Hathaway’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake, The Hustle, which earned $6.3 million in its second weekend to bring its 10-day total to $23 million. Likewise, because the event films crowd the top three, a movie like The Intruder is still at number six after three weeks, and while that might sound like it must be at least a modest hit, that’s not necessarily true. With $4.2 million, it’s now earned $28 million, even though it was the number two, number four, and number six film of successive weekends.
Similarly, Long Shot has a third weekend in the top ten, but it’s still only earned $25 million after a $3.7 million weekend. The Seth Rogen film cost $40 million to make. R-rated American comedies typically don’t play that well overseas, either, so it’s going to need to do very well in digital to earn back its budget. Meanwhile, The Sun is Also a Star, based on a YA novel, barely even made a blip at the box office, debuting this weekend with a woeful $2.6 million on a $9 million budget. If The Sun is Also a Star were a sneeze, it wouldn’t even require a tissue.
Finally, Poms and UglyDolls round out the top ten, two films that launched poorly and have faded fast. They earned $2.3 million and $1.5 million, respectively, to bring their overall totals to $10.3 million and $17.1 million overall.
Next week, Disney’s live-action Aladdin looks to dominate the box office, although I’m not sure it will do as well as Disney may be hoping (it looks very silly). Meanwhile, the James Gunn-produced horror film Brightburn will take on the spectacular teen comedy Booksmart. The Olivia Wilde directed comedy is legit the best teen comedy I have seen in years, although I worry how it will perform in an era in which event films overwhelm everything else.