Professional assassin thriller John Wick only grossed $43 million here in the States, but thanks to its low cost ($20 million), solid worldwide turnout, and a strong critical reception that has earned the film a loyal semi-cult following, the Keanu Reeves movie is now on its way to becoming a franchise. John Wick 2 (as the sequel is currently known) will reunite Reeves with the first installment's screenwriter, Derek Kolstad, and co-director Chad Stahelski, too.
Previous reports indicated that the John Wick sequel would be starting principal photography sometime in Fall 2015, though a definite date was never mentioned. It now appears that production on John Wick 2 is, in fact, getting underway, starting with some preliminary shooting in New York.
Collider's Steven Weintraub is reporting that John Wick 2 has begun production in Brooklyn, and other sources are confirming that claim. For example, Brooklyn news site Park Slope Stoop reports that no-parking notices have been placed around the Barclays Center of late, as a movie production is about to get underway within that area. Furthermore, the location manager for the shoot has informed PSS that the shoot will be for John Wick 2 (see also the photo of the no-parking notice for a project titled "JW2" on the PSS site) and that filming will specifically get started on Friday, October 30th, at 6 am.
The first John Wick likewise filmed in the Brooklyn area - including the Brooklyn Bridge Park - and New York in general, using various local buildings and architecture to craft its neo-Noir scenery and stylishly dark underworld populated by professional killers (Haru Sushi, for example, helped provide the exterior for the Continental Hotel). Plot-wise, little to nothing has been officially revealed about the John Wick sequel at this stage, but it doesn't come as a surprise to learn that the film is likely to revisit at least a few key locations featured in its predecessor.
Reeves will reprise as deadly (formerly retired) assassin John Wick in the sequel, while Ian McShane is also reportedly set to return as John's "acquaintance", Winston. Common is also reported to be playing a key villain in the film: the head of security for a female crime lord who has yet to be officially (or all but officially) cast. There will no doubt be other new characters introduced in the film - seeing as many of the key players from the first John Wick movie were no longer breathing by the time it had reached its (bloody and violent) conclusion.
On that note - Stahelski and John Wick co-director David Leitch (who is still producing the sequel) have said the plan with John Wick 2 is to offer a richer exploration of the title character, rather than to attempt and surpass its predecessor in the action/fighting department (though the sequel will no doubt aim to clear the same high bar set by the first installment, in that respect). As we've noted before, there's solid franchise potential to be cultivated from the first John Wick - so, here is hoping the sequel is successful with its approach.
John Wick 2 doesn't have an official release date yet; we'll let you know when that changes.