Warner Bros. Sued By Studio Over ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Release Strategy And “Abysmal” Box Office

Warner Bros. really stepped in it when they announced that their entire 2021 slate would be released simultaneously in theaters and free on HBO Max. The result was predictable; with very few exceptions most of their films tanked as people chose to watch them comfortably at home for no cost. Filmmakers complained, issued threats, etc., but only Village Roadshow, the studio behind The Matrix Resurrections, is angry enough to take real legal action over it.

Variety reports Village Roadshow has sued Warner Bros. over The Matrix Resurrections‘ release strategy, which they say hurt the bottom line and “inflicted serious harm” on the franchise. The film opened in December and to date has only earned $155M worldwide, a bomb by any measure, and likely a deathknell to any sequels and could lead to Village Roadshow losing the franchise rights.

“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,” the suit claims. “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.”

Of course, Warner Bros. refuted the claims, stating “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.”

So what happens next? Probably what always happens in these situations where big money numbers are being tossed around. A backroom deal will get ironed out and this will all go away. And really, does ANYONE think this means the end of The Matrix? Me neither.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.