LOS ANGELES – The box office has a new king and his name is John Wick.
The third installment of the hyper-violent Keanu Reeves franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office and ended the three-week reign of “Avengers: Endgame.”
Studios on Sunday say “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” has grossed an estimated $57 million in its opening weekend. Not only did it far exceed expectations, it’s a franchise best that nearly doubled the opening of the second film, which itself doubled the opening of the first film from 2014.
The audience, in other words, is growing exponentially for this series about a talented assassin who never seems to get a break.
Men made up the majority (63%) of the “John Wick 3” opening weekend crowd. Overall audiences gave the film an A-minus on CinemaScore, indicating that word-of-mouth will be strong in subsequent weekends. According to Comscore’s PostTrack audience survey, 70% said they would “definitely recommend” to their friends and 21% said they would see it again in theaters.
“This is the best reviewed film of the series so far,” Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake wrote in a statement. “We believe word-of-mouth will continue to drive strong business for the film all over the world.”
Internationally “John Wick 3” earned $35.2 million from 66 territories.
“Avengers: Endgame” slid to second place in its fourth weekend with $29.4 million. Domestically, where the film has grossed $711 million, it’s now second only to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($937 million) and globally, with $2.6 billion, it’s still second to “Avatar” ($2.8 billion).
Spoilers!We interrogate the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ directors about the biggest reveals
In its second weekend, “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” also continued to do well, placing third with $24.8 million. But with the high-performing trifecta of Wick, Avengers and Pikachu, there weren’t very many moviegoers left over for the less flashy newcomers like “A Dog’s Journey” and “The Sun Is Also a Star.”
“It’s tough when one movie overperforms by this kind of magnitude,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.
“A Dog’s Journey,” a sequel to the 2017 hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” opened in fourth with an underwhelming $8 million. But unlike John Wick, the audience for this sequel was less than half of that for the first, which opened to $18.2 million. But audiences who did turn out gave it an A on CinemaScore, which could point toward long-term playability.
Spoilers! ‘Detective Pikachu’ Ryan Reynolds explains that wild ‘Pokemon’ ending
Most disappointing, however, is the young adult adaptation “The Sun Is Also a Star” which grossed only $2.6 million and landed in eighth place. Although featuring popular television actors such as “Riverdale” star Charles Melton and Yara Shahidi of “Grown-ish,” the film failed to connect even with the audiences who turned out, 75% of whom were women. It got a poor B-minus on CinemaScore.
It’s a far cry from the $48 million debut of “The Fault in Our Stars” in 2014, and even the last film based on a Nicola Yoon novel, “Everything, Everything,” which opened to more than $11 million in 2017.
“As unpredictable and fickle as young adults are, so are the performances of films that target that audience,” Dergarabedian says.
The weekend itself was down about 31% and the year to date is still down around 9%, but Dergarabedian says this is the calm before the storm. In the next few weekends theaters will see an influx of could-be hits such as “Rocketman,” ”Aladdin” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”
Final numbers are expected Monday.