While I wish John Wick hadn’t been built up so much before I saw it, that’s no fault of the movie, and there are definitely places for a sequel to go. Lionsgate has announced that John Wick 2 has a greenlight, and that Keanu Reeves is set to return as the eponymous hitman alongside directors David Leitch and Chad Stahleski as well as screenwriter Derek Kolstad. Lionsgate will be selling the film’s international rights at Cannes this week.
John Wick was a nice, relatively low-budget thriller that showed you could do a lot with some strong performances, cool premise, and well-choreographed action. According to Forbes the film “earned $78m worldwide off a $20m production budget. It also earned around $20m from digital platforms alone, as well as around $17m from DVD and Blu Ray sales.” It’s encouraging to see that studios are willing to go forward with original movies that hit doubles rather than a grand slam.
Back in February, Leitch and Stahleski said they “have ideas for days and without blinking twice we know we can outdo the action from the original,” but also stressed that they needed to get the story and character right for a sequel. It looks like they’ve nailed that down, and they’re ready to get moving.
While John Wick didn’t blow me away, I was definitely impressed with the film’s unique world where you knew there was more behind every corner and certain players with particular rules, which gave the plot more texture than a standard revenge story. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of Lance Reddick and Ian McShane’s characters as well an expansion of Wick’s delightful underground. That’s in addition to all of the slick action Leitch and Stahleski are sure to provide.
Just one request: Please, don’t kill any more puppies.
Here’s the press release:
LIONSGATE RELOADS “JOHN WICK 2”
Keanu Reeves, Directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski Return
SANTA MONICA, Calif, May 4, 2015 – Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has confirmed plans to produce a sequel to 2014’s critically-acclaimed breakout hit “JOHN WICK,” it was announced today by Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, Co-Chairmen of the Theatrical Motion Pictures Group. Keanu Reeves along with directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski as well as screenwriter, Derek Kolstad are set to return for the sequel. The film will be released through Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment and will be produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, who produced the first film.
In the follow up to last year’s adrenaline-fueled revenge and redemption thriller, legendary hit man John Wick is back.
“With such tremendous fan and critical support for ‘John Wick,’ we knew that there was still so much more of this story to tell,” said Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “We are thrilled that Keanu, David and Chad have re-teamed with us and promise to bring audiences even more excitement the second time around.”
Jason Constantine and Eda Kowan at Lionsgate will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Lionsgate International will be selling the picture internationally at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.