LOS ANGELES (AP) — The box office has a new king and his name is John Wick. The third installment of the hyper violent Keanu Reeves franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office and ended the three-week reign of "Avengers: Endgame."
Studios on Sunday say "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum" has grossed an estimated $57 million in its opening weekend. Not only did it far exceed expectations, it's a franchise best that nearly doubled the opening of the second film, which itself doubled the opening of the first film from 2014.
The audience, in other words, is growing exponentially for this series about a talented assassin who never seems to get a break. This time, there's a $14 million price tag on his head.
Men made up the majority (63 of the "John Wick 3" opening weekend crowd. Overall audiences gave the film a rare A+ CinemaScore, indicating that word-of-mouth will be strong in subsequent weekends. According to Comscore's PostTrack audience survey, 70% said they would "definitely recommend" to their friends and 21% said they would see it again in theaters.
"This is the best reviewed film of the series so far," said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. "We believe word-of-mouth will continue to drive strong business for the film all over the world."
Internationally "John Wick 3" earned $35.2 million from 66 territories.
"Avengers: Endgame" slid to second place in its fourth weekend with $29.4 million. Domestically, where the film has grossed $711 million, it's now second only to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" ($937 million) and globally, with $2.6 billion, it's still second to "Avatar" ($2.8 billion).
In its second weekend, "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" also continued to do well, placing third with $24.8 million. But with the high-performing trifecta of John Wick, the Avengers and Pikachu, there weren't very many moviegoers left over for the less flashy newcomers like "A Dog's Journey" and "The Sun Is Also a Star."
"The marketplace was so dominated by 'John Wick,'" said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. "It's tough when one movie over performs by this kind of magnitude."
Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment's "A Dog's Journey" opened in fourth with an underwhelming $8 million. The Universal-distributed film is a sequel to the 2017 hit "A Dog's Purpose." But unlike John Wick, the audience for this sequel was less than half of that for the first, which opened to $18.2 million. But audiences who did turn out gave it an A CinemaScore, which could point toward long-term playability.
Most disappointing, however, is the young adult adaptation "The Sun Is Also a Star" which grossed only $2.6 million from over 2,000 screens and landed in eighth place. Although modestly budgeted at a reported $9 million, and featuring popular television actors such as "Riverdale's" Charles Melton and "grown-ish's" Yara Shahidi, the Warner Bros.-released film failed to connect even with the audiences who turned out, 75% of whom were women. It got a poor B- CinemaScore.
It's a far cry from the days of "The Fault in Our Stars'" $48 million debut in 2014, and even the last film based on a Nicola Yoon novel, "Everything, Everything," which opened to over $11 million in 2017.
"As unpredictable and fickle as young adults are, so are the performances of films that target that audience," Dergarabedian said.
In limited release, Joanna Hogg's well-reviewed relationship drama "The Souvenir" did well with $85,851 from four screens.
Even with the success of "John Wick," the weekend itself was down about 31% and the year to date is still down around 9%, but, Dergarabedian said that this is the calm before the storm. In the next few weekends theaters will see an influx of could-be hits such as "Rocketman," ''Aladdin" and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1."John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum," $57 million ($35.2 million international).
2."Avengers: Engame," $29.4 million ($46.8 million international).
3."Pokémon Detective Pikachu," $24.8 million.
4."A Dog's Journey," $8 million ($15.5 million international).
5."The Hustle," $6.1 million.
6."The Intruder," $4 million.
7."Long Shot," $3.4 million.
8."The Sun Is Also a Star," $2.6 million.
9."Poms," $2.1 million.
10."Uglydolls," $1.6 million.