December 11, 2023

Keanu Reeves starred in “John Wick: Chapter 4.”


What started as a retired killer avenging his murdered dog has turned into a $1 billion blockbuster franchise lionsgate.

This week, the four-movie John Wick franchise starring Keanu Reeves topped $1 billion at the global box office.

Each film returns far more than its predecessor, a rarity in Hollywood.

The first “John Wick” was widely praised by critics and audiences for its well-choreographed fight scenes, often shot in long takes to convey the action. In many action movies, directors and editors use quick cuts and close-ups, which tend to obscure the choreography of the fights.

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According to Lionsgate, here’s how much each John Wick film earned at the global box office:

  • John Wick (2014): $87.7 million; estimated budget $20-30 million
  • John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017): $171.5 million; estimated budget $40 million
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): $326.7 million; estimated budget $75 million
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023): $425 million and counting; estimated budget is $100 million

The film franchise has set up a miniseries called “Hotel Continental: From the World of John Wick,” which follows how Winston Scott (played by Ian McShane in the film) The story of owning and operating The Continental Hotel. The hotel is a safe haven for assassins.The show will air NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service later this year.

Lionsgate also has a spinoff, Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas.

Lionsgate has been exploring milestones for its “John Wick” franchise in two key parts of its business — the film studio and Starz cable and streaming division.

Despite being overshadowed by larger peers, including warner bros found, disney, amazon and ComcastThe shares of its NBCUniversal and Lionsgate have soared this year. In February, the company announced its earnings beat expect.

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Shares of Lionsgate have been rising steadily over the last year.

Lionsgate has been exploring its options for Starz for some time. Last year, it was in talks to sell a 20 percent stake in Starz and was also in talks with multiple potential buyers for its studio business, CNBC previously reported. Originally, in 2022, the company had said it expected to complete the sale or spin-off of Starz by the end of the summer.

CNBC previously reported that at the time Lionsgate had been leaning toward spinning off its studio division, which has a robust library that also includes shows like the “Hunger Games” series and “Mad Men.”

Lionsgate executives said on an earnings call in February that the company is on track to separate Lionsgate and Starz by September. “The separation will give our two core businesses the opportunity to pursue strategic and financial paths that make sense for each of them,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in February. “We are exploring a variety of financial strategies to allow both companies to separate with strong balance sheets.”

In March, Feltheimer told an investor conference that the company was still “considering a range of different options” as it explored strategic options. “We don’t need any money, we’ve deleveraged,” he added, referring to their debt load.

Lionsgate is scheduled to report its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal operates Peacock.