What just happened? At Warner Bros. sued over The Matrix Resurrections and it has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself (I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment). The co-founders of The Matrix’s fourth film, Village Roadshow, have filed a lawsuit over its hybrid theatrical and streaming release, claiming it was a move by Warner Bros. to attract subscribers to HBO Max.
Diversity reports that Village Roadshow has a 20-year relationship with Warner Bros., during which time it has co-financed several films, including the Matrix trilogy, Joker, and the Oceans series.
Like all Warner Bros. films. 2021, Matrix Resurrections was released in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time to offset the decline in theater attendance caused by the pandemic. But Village Roadshow says Warner Bros. did not consult or notify the company before deciding to list Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max.
Matrix Resurrections barely broke even on its estimated $190 million budget. It made $37 million in the US, the lowest of any Matrix film, and just over $153 million worldwide. The Matrix Reloaded, the franchise’s highest-grossing film, grossed over $740 million in 2003.
“The WB strategy not only ensured that The Resurrection Matrix would fail at the box office, but also caused serious damage to the entire Matrix franchise,” the lawsuit says. “There can be no doubt that The Matrix Resurrection’s disastrous box office performance reduces the value of this franchise, as the film’s lack of profitability usually prevents studios from investing in additional sequels and derivative films in the near future.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Warner Bros. used the pandemic as an excuse to push back the April release date of The Matrix: Resurrection to the end of the year, thus creating “a much-needed wave of year-end HBO Max premium subscriptions.” Last month, AT&T said that HBO and HBO Max ended 2021 with 73.8 million subscribers, exceeding all expectations.
Village Roadshow claims breach of contract and alleges that Warner Bros. is also “developing various schemes” to strip her of the sequel rights to other co-owned films, such as the sequels Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Edge of Tomorrow. The keeper. The Village Roadshow also notes that some wholly owned WB films such as Batman and Black Adam have been pushed back to 2022 and will receive exclusive film releases this year.
“This is a frivolous attempt by Village Roadshow to evade their contractual obligations to participate in the arbitration we commenced against them last week,” Warner Bros. said in a response. “We have no doubt that this case will be decided in our favor.”
Back in 2020, director Christopher Nolan criticized Warner Bros. plan for a dual release and called HBO Max the “worst streaming service”.