John Wick: Chapter 4 scores the biggest opening weekend of the series

Yeah, we’re thinking he’s back!

John Wick: Chapter 4 opened to an impressive $73.5 million at the domestic box office this weekend, marking easily the biggest debut yet for the action franchise. This surpasses the series’ previous high of a $56.8 million opening weekend for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum in 2019. 

In fact, every John Wick installment to date has improved on the previous film’s box office haul, as Chapter 2 opened to $30.4 million in 2017, and the original movie only had a $14 million domestic debut in 2014. Starring Keanu Reeves as a former hitman who goes up against a sprawling network of assassins, the John Wick franchise has gradually become an unlikely box office juggernaut. Director Chad Stahelski recently told Insider he didn’t expect to even get one sequel after “no one clapped” in the first test screening of the original movie, which only grossed $43 million domestically in its entire run. 

The latest Wick‘s opening continues a strong year for tentpole sequels that aren’t comic book movies after Scream VI and Creed III both set new opening weekend records for their franchises. Meanwhile, the two biggest superhero movies of the year so far, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, have both had somewhat disappointing performances, raising the question of whether superhero movie fatigue may be setting in. In May, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be the next big test. 

Stahelski told The Hollywood Reporter that after Chapter 4, he and Reeves are “done” with John Wick movies “for the moment.” But a prequel TV series called The Continental is already headed to Peacock, and a spinoff film, Ballerina, is also on the way. So this franchise may not be out of ammo just yet. 

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Hong Kong sees 1st protest in years under strict guidelines

Hong Kong saw its first protest in three years on Sunday, as people were allowed to take to the streets for the first time since the lifting of major COVID-19 restrictions and the implementation of anti-protest laws

However, the protest was strictly watched by law enforcement, and heavily regulated with a number of guidelines. Only 100 people were allowed to attend, BBC News reported, and protesters had to wear numbered ID tags and have their signs approved in advance.

The protest was in opposition to a land reclamation plan that would see the construction of garbage-processing facilities in place of homes. 

Law enforcement cited security protocols as the reason for the strict oversight of the protests, the first since anti-COVID mandates were lifted. However, protests in Hong Kong have been rare in general since 2020, when “China imposed sweeping restrictions on the rights and freedoms of people living in the territory,” BBC News added.

The restrictions were in opposition to massive protests that swept across Hong Kong in 2019 in opposition to human rights crackdowns within the megacity. “Critics say the city’s freedom of assembly that was promised Hong Kong when it returned to China from Britain in 1997 has been eroded,” The Associated Press reported, with the government taking measures such as banning masks in order to identify protesters accused of illegal acts. 

Many of the protesters who arrived on Sunday decried the strict protocols that Hong Kong officials had required them to undergo. 

Lam Wo-ping, a 72-year-old retiree, told the South China Morning Post he was “really saddened by this arrangement … in today’s Hong Kong, going on a protest is such a difficult task.” Lam added that while many people in the neighborhood knew about the protests, “they dared not join, as they were scared of being arrested or sued, given that there were so many restrictions.”

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Biden’s pick to lead FAA withdraws nomination

Phillip Washington, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has withdrawn his nomination following lackluster support in the Senate. 

Washington decided to pull his name from contention over the weekend, Reuters first reported on Saturday. Currently the CEO of Denver International Airport, Washington was nominated by Biden to be the new FAA administrator after previously serving as the president’s transportation transition head. However, he faced significant criticism from Republicans, who argued that “Washington’s slim aviation credentials and his potential legal entanglements” precluded him from leading the FAA, CNN reported. 

The Biden administration would later confirm that Washington had pulled his nomination, with White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan telling The New York Times that “an onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks on Mr. Washington’s service and experience irresponsibly delayed this process, threatened unnecessary procedural hurdles on the Senate floor, and ultimately have led him to withdraw his nomination today.”

The White House has always maintained that Washington had the proper background to run the disgruntled FAA, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeting that Washington’s “transportation & military experience made him an excellent nominee.” 

“The partisan attacks and procedural obstruction he has faced are undeserved, but I respect his decision to withdraw and am grateful for his service,” Buttigieg added.

The Times noted that while Washington has led the Denver Airport since 2021, “much of his career involved ground transport.”

Republicans were consistently united in opposition to Washington, but it originally appeared that Democrats would have still had the votes to push him through the Senate confirmation hearing if they desired. However, Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) called off a scheduled vote on his nomination last week, which NBC News noted is a likely sign that Washington no longer had enough Democratic support to move the nomination out of committee. 

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Actor Jonathan Majors arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman

Jonathan Majors has been arrested in New York City after allegedly assaulting a woman, according to multiple reports.

The actor’s arrest was confirmed to IndieWire by an NYPD spokesperson, who said police responded to a 911 call inside an apartment, and an investigation determined a 33-year-old male “was involved in a domestic dispute with a 30-year-old female,” who told police she was assaulted. The victim allegedly “sustained minor injuries to her head and neck and was removed to an area hospital in stable condition.” Majors was reportedly arrested on charges of strangulation, assault, and harassment. 

Additional details were provided by TMZ, which reported that the victim is Majors’ girlfriend and that the actor allegedly grabbed her hand, slapped her, and “put his hands around her neck” during an argument in a taxi after the woman “saw another woman texting Majors” and confronted him. The victim’s visible injuries included a “laceration behind her ear, redness and marks to her face,” TMZ also reported.

This comes as Majors’ star has been rising in Hollywood, and he recently starred in two films that were number one at the box office back-to-back: Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the Rocky spinoff Creed III. He has also been earning early Oscar buzz for his performance in the Sundance movie Magazine Dreams. Marvel has largely built its next several years of movies and TV shows around Majors’ character of Kang the Conqueror, who is essentially the franchise’s new Thanos-level big bad and is expected to be the villain of the next Avengers film, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Majors’ representative told IndieWire, “He has done nothing wrong. We look forward to clearing his name and clearing this up.” 

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