Warner Bros. has been sued by The Matrix Resurrections co-production company and co-financier Village Roadshow Entertainment Group over the film’s day and date release on HBO Max.
Amid the pandemic, Warner Bros. released its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously in the US, including The Matrix Resurrections, Dune, and The Suicide Squad.
“WB’s strategy not only ensured that The Matrix Resurrections would be a bust at the box office, but it also inflicted serious harm to the entire Matrix franchise,” alleges the lawsuit. “There can be no doubt that the abysmal theatrical box office sales figures from The Matrix Resurrections dilute the value of this tent pole franchise as a film’s lack of profitability generally prevents studios from investing in additional sequels and derivative films in the near term.” Head over to Variety (opens in new tab)to see the lawsuit in its entirety.
The Matrix Resurrections has grossed just over $153 million worldwide so far – the lowest total of the franchise. No plans for a sequel have been announced. The suit alleges that the box office was also affected by “rampant piracy” caused by the day and date release strategy.
The film was initially pushed to an April 2022 release, but was later brought forward to December 2021. The lawsuit alleges that: “WB’s sole purpose in moving the release date of The Matrix Resurrections forward was to create a desperately needed wave of year-end HBO Max premium subscriptions from what it knew would be a blockbuster film, despite knowing full well that it would decimate the film’s box office revenue and deprive Village Roadshow of any economic upside that WB and its affiliates would enjoy, especially as compared to a 2022 exclusive theatrical release.”
The suit also makes reference to Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was exclusively released in theaters in December 2021 and is now one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. “That film’s starkly different financial success speaks volumes about WB’s day and date release strategy,” claims the suit.
Warner Bros.’ response to the lawsuit reads: “This is a frivolous attempt by Village Roadshow to avoid their contractual commitment to participate in the arbitration that we commenced against them last week. We have no doubt that this case will be resolved in our favor.” (H/T The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab))
Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over the simultaneous theatrical and Disney Plus Premier Access release of Black Widow, but the suit was eventually settled, and the actor is still attached to the studio’s upcoming Tower of Terror movie.
If you’re caught up on The Matrix 4, check out our guide to all of 2022’s upcoming major movie release dates for what the year has in store.