Nobody Knows Anything, John Wick edition



I first wrote about the novelist and screenwriter William Goldman, and his delightful book, “Adventures in the Screen Trade” in 2016. He was an Academy award-winning scriptwriter penning such classics as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), “All the President’s Men” (1976), “Marathon Man” (1974), and the cult-favorite “The Princess Bride (1973).

He also penned the immortal phrase, “Nobody knows anything.”

The origin of those 3 insightful words comes from Hollywood: Goldman references the many films that studios passed on that would go on to be blockbusters. Every studio exec in Tinseltown (but one) turned down “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”1 All the largest Hollywood studio honchos passed on “Star Wars.”2

Which brings us to “John Wick.”

The first of the Keanu Reeves action movie was made for $20 million dollars. It was made as an independent film because none of the studios were interested: Nobody wanted to finance it; once it was financed, no one wanted to distribute it; even after a distribution deal was inked, no one wanted to show it or review it.

But it almost wasn’t made at all.

Watch Danny Boyd of CinemaStix’s video (above) about the challenges of making a flick about a retired hitman. Despite being attached to a bankable star, despite being associated with the stuntmen and fight choreographers of the enormously successful Matrix films, and despite a nearly insatiable demand for action movies, everyone passed on the film.

With the benefit of hindsight, all of these things are obvious to us: How could John Wick’s style of Hong Kong Gun Fu not be a smash hit? None of the studio heads had the vision to see its potential.

Because no one in Hollywood knows anything.

Kinda like Wall Street.

From CinemaStix’s discussion above:

“We were literally turned down by every studio that we went to. It’s Keanu Reeves being an assassin kills dozens of people over a puppy and it’s directed by not one but two crazy stuff guys so yeah it wasn’t a great pitch.”

-Chad Stahelski & David Leitch, Co-Directors

“But even after the movie got made I mean that was far from it. John Wick was still a couple of studio execs beguiled faces away from getting sent straight to Blu-ray nobody with any power understood it nobody with any money wanted to distribute it, and none of the critics in early screenings for it could figure out why they’ve never heard of it.”

-Danny Boyd, CinemaStix

No commercial potential?

Just the box office for the first film, and its three sequels was billion dollars. John Wick 4, which came out this summer, did $432.2 million at the box office. Chapter 5 is confirmed, and heading to theaters in 2026, which you wouldn’t want to bet against the box office of that one either. To say nothing of video games, comic books, television series, and a spin-off film from the original. By the time it’s all said and done, the John Wick franchise will be worth more than 2 billion dollars. And it almost wasn’t made because none of the studio heads could see the commercial potential in the film.

John Wick is yet another reminder about just how little any of us know about what might happen in the future…



Nobody Knows Nuthin’ (May 5, 2016)

Can Anyone Catch Nokia? (October 26, 2022)

Why the Apple Store Will Fail (May 20, 2021)

“No matter how you cut it, you’ve got to own Cisco” -2000 (May 15, 2023)

Nobody Knows Anything, 2023 First Half Edition (June 30, 2023)

Nobody Knows Anything (Collection)



When you hire stunt guys to direct the movie
by Danny Boyd
CinemaStix, April 1, 2023




1. Raiders to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and nominated for nine Academy Awards.

2. Star Wars grossed $1 billion, then spawned a franchise with five films in the original series, all in the all-time top 100 in gross box office sales. Plus 6 additional films. Eventually, Walt Disney Co. purchased the Star Wars production company Lucasfilm, for more than $4 billion.


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