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‘John Wick’ double-tapped for fourth and fifth installments

Keanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.
Keanu Reeves will return for John Wick 4 and 5, which will shoot back to back in hopes for a 2022 release. (Image credit: Lionsgate)

Even after killing hundreds of foes, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick continues to search for targets: Lionsgate during its quarterly earnings call announced plans for not just one but two more films in the franchise. Studio CEO John Feltheimer told stockholders the news on an earnings call Thursday, saying the two sequels will shoot back to back, with John Wick 4 already scheduled for release May 27, 2022.

The original film, modestly-budgeted by contemporary standards between $20 million and $30 million, quickly became a cash cow for a studio in need of more franchises. After grossing more than $86 million and launching the directing careers of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, Lionsgate quickly signed Reeves and Stahelski for two more films, which earned almost $600 million worldwide. Subsequently, Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad put a John Wick series into development on the Starz network: The Continental, based on the mysterious hotel that assassins in Wick’s world use as a weigh station.

The question remains how durable John Wick and his world truly is. The first film’s premise was beautifully simple — when someone kills Wick’s dog, he exacts bloody revenge. But each sequel’s expanding circles of mythology — not to mention their almost comical body counts — already strain credulity, much less the creativity of Kolstad to invent new ways for the title character to prevail over seemingly impossibly odds (that don't include two shots to the frontal lobe of everyone Wick encounters). Thankfully, the introduction of new characters like Halle Berry’s Sofia in Parabellum offer new possibilities when and if Wick’s body finally gives out from the sheer volume of kicking, punching and shooting it’s forced to do.

Meanwhile, John Wick resuscitated Reeves’ career after a number of commercial failures, including the 2008 remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, and his own directorial debut The Man of Tai Chi, so suffice it to say it behooves him to take this ride to the end of the line. (Reeves’ participation in the original film was a natural result of longtime friendships formed with Leitch and Stahelski during the filming of The Matrix and its sequels, where they served as stunt coordinators.) But does the world need two more John Wick movies? I guess there’s no knowing for sure until Reeves and his collaborators have that opening weekend in their crosshairs.