With so many built-in fans of the franchise, the creators had high hopes for the newest “Matrix” iteration, “The Matrix Resurrections.” There are plenty of reasons why the new movie failed despite the dependable draw of Keanu Reeves. These include ongoing pandemic issues and how the co-writer explicitly wanted to “reclaim that trope” of what taking the red pill really meant.
However, the co-producer is laying blame at the feet of Warner Bros. According to New York Post, the production company claims the film’s distributor breached their contract when they decided to release the film simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Now they’re saying this is why “Resurrections” was such a flop. The movie only pulled in a scanty $10.7 million opening weekend.
Village Roadshow Entertainment Group’s lawyers said in the suit that Warner Bros. rolling out a simultaneous release, which involved moving the release date from 2022 to December 2021, violated the terms of their agreement.
“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,” the suit reads.
The document goes on to allege Warner Bros. should have anticipated “rampant piracy” that took place, which was expected because of “distributing this marquee picture on a streaming platform on the same day as its theatrical release.”
The debate between streaming versus theatrical releases and how those two should be coordinated is ongoing. While “Spiderman: No Way Home” succeeded in huge box office sales despite not having a simultaneous streaming component, other films have been less successful at drawing people back into theaters as pandemic protocol has dragged on for two years now.
In a statement for WSJ, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. has said that the production company has overstepped their contract’s arbitration clause with the suit. They are confident that no wrongdoing took place when moving up the movie’s release date.
“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.”
Further, Village Roadshow accused Warner Bros. of trying to cut them out of projects they’ve already invested $4.5 billion into. The two companies collaborated on films including “Joker” and “American Sniper” in addition to the “Matrix” franchise.
“WB has also been devising various schemes to deprive Village Roadshow of its continuing rights to co-own and co-invest in the derivative works from the films it co-owns,” the suit continues.
Village Roadshow recently refused to give up the rights to a TV series based on the inspired “Edge of Tomorrow.” The suit stipulates that Warner Bros. “said the quiet part out loud: It will not allow Village Roadshow to benefit from any of its Derivative Rights going forward, despite the over $4.5 billion it has paid WB to make and distribute 91 films.”
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