The John Wick films have always been moderately-budgeted affairs, so how much did John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum cost to make? Springing from humble beginnings via the 2014 original, Wick has gone on to become one of the premier action franchises of its era, serving as a wonderful comeback vehicle for Keanu Reeves. The sleeper success of the first film ensured sequels would be made, and now the third film is just about to hit theaters. Once again, critics are praising the beautiful set pieces.
Lionsgate knows by now what they have with John Wick and understand there's a sizable fan base that will turn up to see the Baba Yaga's latest escapades on the big screen. This gives the filmmakers a little more leeway creatively, allowing them to paint on a bigger canvas. While all of the films are visually stunning and look great on the big screen, there's no denying there's an uptick in scale and scope as the series has gone along. The first installment was contained in John's old stomping grounds of New York, while the second one was a little more global. There's a reason for that - and it stems from the franchise's escalating budgets.
The production costs for John Wick 3 are estimated to be around $55 million. This is a noticeable increase from the original movie (between $20-30 million) and 2017's Chapter 2 ($40 million). It's obviously nowhere close to the ballpark of a traditional studio tentpole, but Lionsgate's increasingly larger investments demonstrate a confidence in the series to keep drawing crowds.
At the box office, John Wick has never set records. The 2014 original made $88.7 million worldwide, while Chapter 2 followed with $171.5 million. But the (relatively speaking) small budgets ensure the movies do not need to break the bank in order to turn a profit. Looking at the math, the first film more than quadrupled its costs, which is a fantastic return on investment. In order to break even, Chapter 3 needs to earn approximately $110 million globally, a figure it should be able to accomplish. This is the first time a Wick film has played in the competitive summer movie season, but the target demographic for this is a lot different than, say, Detective Pikachu or Aladdin. The R-rated action fans will turn up to see Chapter 3, especially since it's earned positive early reviews.
Chapter 3 has the look and feel of a final entry, but the creative team remains open to more installments if that's what fans want. There may very well be a John Wick 4 one day, but Lionsgate should perhaps cap the budgets at the $55 million range. Unless Parabellum is a much bigger hit than its predecessor, the studio would run the risk of minimizing profits if there was another notable budget bump. And that's fine. John Wick never needed James Bond money in order to thrill audiences with breathtaking action. Reeves and director Chad Stahelski have always stretched their money as far as it will go, and they would certainly do the same in the event another film is made.
- John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) release date: May 17, 2019