This post contains major spoilers for "John Wick: Chapter 4."

There's a simple rule that usually dictates whether you'll get more of a show or movie you love: follow the money. Hollywood is infamous for squeezing as much life as it can out of anything successful, whether through sequels, spin-offs, or the industry's latest obsession, cinematic universes. This means those of us who've seen "John Wick: Chapter 4" and its bombshell of an ending have been given hope by the fact the film has set a new franchise box office opening record, making $73.5 million in its first weekend.

While it would seem our dearly departed assassin's quest for freedom finally ended with "John Wick: Chapter 4," the film is also on track to continue the franchise trend of making more money than the previous entry. And you know what that means. Lionsgate and Thunder Road execs are hastily being assembled as we speak to discuss how best to milk this thing to within an inch of its life. The problem, as previously mentioned, is that John Wick is ostensibly six feet deep, having succumbed to a gunshot wound at the end of "Chapter 4."

But as we all know, in movies, unless you see a body no one is ever dead. Fortunately, no one actually saw Keanu Reeves' hitman perish, which seems to have been by design. The team behind the "John Wick" films know they're on to a winner, and while spin-offs have been in the works for a while, no one's 100% sure this cinematic universe works without Reeves at its center. Luckily, franchise director Chad Stahelski has confirmed he's at least open to making "John Wick: Chapter 5," and now there's more positive-sounding news.

There Are More Stories To Tell

Those impressed by the "John Wick" saga's transformation from quirky B-movie-style action thriller to montages of Keanu Reeves hitting and shooting people really well, might argue that "John Wick: Chapter 4" was so good we don't need a sequel. I maintain the first "John Wick" remains the best of the series. But it doesn't really matter what any of us think as long as we're buying tickets — which we most certainly are. That means there's still a possibility Wick will return to hit and shoot more people.

Unfortunately, it seems the "John Wick" crew was pretty burnt out after this latest installment. /Film's Vanessa Armstrong interviewed producer Erica Lee, who revealed she's "hopeful" for a follow-up to "Chapter 4," before explaining just how grueling a process it is to make these films:

"I think that on all of the movies at this point in the process, we were like, 'We're never doing it again!' They're super hard and exhausting to shoot. 'John Wick 4' was 97 days of night shoots, and Keanu [Reeves] gets the s*** kicked out of him. Everyone by this point is like, 'We had seven premieres, oh my God, we're done!'"

But don't get too despondent. After the exhaustion wears off, there's still an underlying desire to keep going. As Lee explained:

"For the last two movies — there's been a Japan release for both of them that was a couple months later — everyone has had some time to rest and think about what we would do, what we could do. I think we all remember how much we love each other and love these movies. So yeah, I'm hopeful. Is the character of John Wick dead? Are there other versions? Are there different stories to tell? I think so."

Never Say Never

The "John Wick" movies have much to teach Hollywood about building a cinematic universe, expanding the lore with each sequel, and watching profits expand accordingly. With "John Wick: Chapter 4" on track to deliver further box office gains, the question everyone will ask is, "Why stop now?" The answer is, "Because this thing ran its course a long time ago," but that's not how mass audiences and most critics see it. "John Wick: Chapter 4" is a sensation, with a critic and audience score to prove it. This means there'll almost certainly be more to come from Baba Yaga and his assassin-verse.

Original "John Wick" scribe Derek Kolstad has been hard at work on TV spin-off "The Continental" for some time, and Ana de Armas will soon front her own film set in the "John Wick" universe entitled "Ballerina." These will be the real test of how adaptable the "John Wick" universe is. But most of that risk goes away once you just get Keanu Reeves to agree to another film, and Chad Stahelski to agree to direct it.

How easy that is will depend on multiple factors. Reeves recently told Entertainment Weekly his return is actually contingent on Stahelski's, adding, "I guess I'm going to have to lean on never say never […] For me, it feels really right that John Wick finds peace." That sounds like the leading man could go either way at this point, but there's no doubt he's been more dedicated to this role than any other in recent years, and Stahelski has already intimated that he'd be up for another go-round.

All of which is great. But what's most important is that box office take. And right now, all signs point to yet another gun-fu fest in the near future.

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The post Will There Be A John Wick 5? Producer Erica Lee Thinks So [Exclusive] appeared first on /Film.