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Film franchises retake the box office with record opening weekends

Tim Baysinger
Mar 27, 2023
Data: Box office mojo/Lionsgate; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Box office mojo/Lionsgate; Chart: Axios Visuals

"John Wick: Chapter 4" earned more than $73 million at the box office this weekend, a new record for the Keanu Reeves-led film franchise.

Why it matters: So much for franchise fatigue. "John Wick" was the third film this month to open to franchise-best numbers, following "Creed III" and "Scream VI."

The big picture: Despite the underperformance from the latest "Ant-Man" and "Shazam!" sequels, audiences will still flock to theaters for franchise films with strong word of mouth and critical reviews.

  • "John Wick," "Scream" and "Creed" each had audience scores over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" decidedly did not.

Be smart: The success of "John Wick" comes as Lionsgate is in the midst of separating its studio business from Starz, which many in the industry believe is designed to make Lionsgate look more attractive to a buyer.

💭 Tim's thought bubble: The best and most profitable franchises are mostly ones that didn't start out with a 10-year plan, but just a single movie that people liked enough to warrant more.

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