Anotherfilmnerd6 Comments

Half Cocked: The Rocky Road Down Under for 'John Wick 2'

Anotherfilmnerd6 Comments
Half Cocked: The Rocky Road Down Under for 'John Wick 2'

And they say movies don't incite violence.When the news (or fake news, or rumour, or Chinese whisper) landed that 'John Wick 2' might not hit Australian cinemas, Aussie fans of Keanu Reeves dog-lovin', gun totin' assassin went positively ballistic. After all, this is John Motherfucking Wick we're talking about here.

Arguably the best Keanu Reeves movie ever (notwithstanding his Oscar worthy performance as Ortiz the Dog Boy in 'Freaked') and also the best, smartest, funniest yet entirely deadpan John Woo movie that John Woo never made.

So why isn't this brilliant sequel to a bona fide masterpiece  coming to Australian cinemas?

First off, let's do some damage control. The film's distributor, eOne, swears it's working its ass off to get 'Wick 2' into cinemas, and they'll post updates as they come. They seem hopeful the film will land in cinemas, they just can't say when…YET.

Secondly, let's consider the context. In an ideal world, ‘John Wick 2' would get day and date release in Australian cinemas. And would play to packed crowds. And become the biggest grossing motion picture of 2017. The problem is, we don't live in an ideal world. Donald Trump is President of the United States, people think Justin Bieber can sing and Adam Sandler continues to have a career in film - something that continues to astound and confuse everyone, even Adam Sandler.

The sad reality is quality alone doesn't do the job. If it did, there would've been no way in hell I could've bought a copy of Bobcat Goldthwait's classic 'Shakes the Clown' for $0.99 on VHS. Sure, if you listen to Gizmodo, Australia was the third highest foreign market for 'John Wick'. But that's not the only consideration here. What's more important is how well 'John Wick' performed at the Australian Box Office compared to every other film that played in Australian cinemas. 

And the frustrating answer to that question is 'not well'. 'John Wick' wasn't in the top ten, the top 20 or even the top 30 grossing films of 2014 in the Australian Box Office. Of all the films released theatrically in Australia in 2014, 'John Wick' was the 77th highest grossing film. 

If you want to feel even more depressed, here are some of the films that made more at the Australian Box Office than 'John Wick' in 2014: 'Transcendence' (remember that? The ham-Pfisted directorial debut of Chris Nolan's cinematographer), 'Sex Tape' (a film so bad that I'm pretty sure both Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel now pretend it doesn't exist), '47 Ronin' (a movie so bad it should have landed in a bargain bin instead of cinemas) and the 'Robocop' remake (no comment necessary).

You may say, "but home video is where 'John Wick' built its fan base... and this time'll be different."

In a simpler time, before streaming and before bittorrent, you may have a point. Unfortunately, now, not so much. A purchase on DVD or Blu-Ray doesn't mean that same person will go to the cinema to see the follow-up. They may download some dodgy cam, which will no doubt hit torrent sites before the week is over. They may wait til it hits a streaming site and it's covered by the ten bucks a month membership fee that also gets ‘em access to unlimited viewings of 'Fuller House'.

The marketplace has changed, and film distributors have to react accordingly. In an ever changing marketplace, there's only one thing for certain. To get a movie into cinemas, it'll have to have a better than average prospect of turning a profit. In short, you wanna get pissed that 'John Wick 2' is having trouble getting into Australian cinemas? Fine. Get pissed. But don't use it as a flimsy pretext to download a bootleg and claim 'this is why piracy happens'. And don't get narky at a distributor that seems to be doing everything in its power to try and get you what you want.

You want to see more movies like 'John Wick' at the cinema? See 'John Wick' at the cinema. Bring your friends. See it again. Show that a movie like that can bring in an audience. Because that's the most compelling argument you can make. Like the Brett Ratner movie told us, Money Talks.

Anotherfilmnerd's earliest cinematic memory was seeing Don Johnson throw up all over a suspect in John Frankenheimer's 'Dead Bang'. Ever since, he's devoted his life to searching out cinema that's weird, wonderful and features vomit in the most unlikely of places.