THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS: Village Roadshow Sues Warner Bros. Over The Movie's HBO Max Release

THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS: Village Roadshow Sues Warner Bros. Over The Movie's HBO Max Release

There's even more legal trouble in Hollywood today thanks to the pandemic as Village Roadshow is looking to take Warner Bros. to court for releasing The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max last December...

By JoshWilding - Feb 07, 2022 04:02 PM EST
Filed Under: Matrix
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Matrix Resurrections wasn't a particularly good movie, which was evident from the mixed response from fans and critics alike. It also got steamrolled at the box office by Spider-Man: No Way Home, though the fact it was available for free on HBO Max meant it would always ultimately underperform at the box office. 

Now, things just took a complicated turn with the news that Village Roadshow, a co-producer on Lana Wachowski's fourth entry into the franchise, is suing Warner Bros. for breach of contract. In fact, the studio goes so far as to accuse them of a larger plot to distance the companies and the intellectual properties they share.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Village Roadshow believes Warner Bros. knowingly moved The Matrix Resurrections from 2022 to 2021 as a way to boost HBO Max subscribers (knowing it would result in lower box office takings). As a result, they feel the decision hurt both their financial returns and the franchise itself. 

"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 lawsuit reads adding that this is part of an ongoing effort to "eviscerate the significant value of Village Roadshow’s intellectual property in order to prop up the new HBO Max streaming service."

What do they mean by that? Well, they add that Warner Bros. has pushed for Wonka not to be recognised as a prequel to Roadshow's Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (thereby distancing them from it). A dispute over the Edge of Tomorrow franchise is also mentioned that's now left its future very much in doubt after Warner Bros. pushed to gain exclusive rights to the property.

As for Warner Bros.' response, a spokesperson for the studio said today, "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." After 25 years together that's seen them make 91 movies, it seems their relationship could soon end.

This should be an interesting case to keep an eye on, anyway, particularly in the wake of Scarlett Johansson's legal battle against Disney over Black Widow's streaming debut (that was ultimately settled out of court). Roadshow clearly feels it has a legitimate gripe against Warner Bros. based on this lawsuit, so we'll be sure to keep you in the loop with the latest updates!

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Knightrider - 2/7/2022, 4:04 PM
I don’t think a cinema only release would have turned this from a flop to a success. Can only speak for my experience, but I just didn’t know many people that excited to see it… in fact, most, including me gave it the ‘might watch it online’ answer, so I would argue if it wasn’t for streaming this movie may have been seen less.

However, other people and parts may have had a totally different experience, thus take, on the situation.
Itwasme - 2/7/2022, 5:55 PM
@Knightrider - I agree. It's really difficult to draw much conclusions on what a BO would have been. I would have thought they would have worked out a deal with Village for the streaming, and I still think a premium fee would work better than just making it free with any sub.
bcom - 2/7/2022, 6:45 PM
@Knightrider - I think a Matrix movie will always gain some attention, but I think word of mouth has a greater bearing than professional reviews these days and word got out that the movie wasn't that great. You'll always get a decent box office on opening day / weekend for a movie with a popular legacy (which is why I never think of big opening weekend box office numbers as an indication that a movie is actually good), but I think word of mouth spread quickly and people stayed away.
JonC - 2/7/2022, 9:31 PM
@Knightrider - Resurrections was one thing that died during the pandemic that was NOT related to covid. It would have been better as a funny Christmas special on TV... and more entertaining as that than to attempt to be a meaningful sequence to anything from the franchise.
MCUKnight11 - 2/7/2022, 4:06 PM
What are some other movies that should not have been turned into a franchise and stayed a one and done? I'll say Die Hard and Home alone.
MyCoolYoung - 2/7/2022, 4:13 PM
@Waddles - don't hit me... but I like home alone 3... I know i know I'm a sicko
dracula - 2/7/2022, 4:13 PM
Movie was crap and massive success is a rare thing right now even for good movies
MasterMix - 2/7/2022, 4:18 PM
@dracula - Unless you're Spider-Man
dracula - 2/7/2022, 4:22 PM
@MasterMix - yeah and actual good movie that did amazingly well.

Will it that happen more often going forward? who knows

For the foreseeable future The Batman seems like the only one with a real shot at replicating that success
TheHumanSpider2 - 2/7/2022, 5:10 PM
@MasterMix - Unless you are NO WAY HOME.
Homecoming and FFH would've also flopped.
nightwing2090 - 2/7/2022, 4:13 PM
Everyone wants to sue when these movies bomb.
supermanrex - 2/7/2022, 4:14 PM
oh i cant wait to see all the industry experts in these comments educate everyone on how to handle sequels and prequels.
JonC - 2/7/2022, 9:33 PM
@supermanrex - sadly i think Covid falls under the 'act of God' clause in most insurance policies... you may get payed out and you may not.
MyCoolYoung - 2/7/2022, 4:15 PM
I'm going to sue wb as well I haven't figured out why but if someone could sue McDonald's I can surely find a movie to sue them Over
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