The Matrix Resurrections: court case springs up over box office performance

The Matrix Resurrections
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Warner Bros is being sued by Village Roadshow Pictures over the release of The Matrix Resurrections: more here.

Well, this is becoming a familiar story. Whilst Disney found itself settling with star Scarlett Johansson following its decision to release Black Widow on Disney+ as well as in cinemas, it is Warner Bros that have endured the most flack for employing a similar strategy. Throughout 2021, the studio elected to release its entire slate of movies on HBO Max in the US, on the same day that they launched in cinemas. And not everyone was happy.

This has already led to problems, both legal and otherwise.

Christopher Nolan ended his decades-long association with the company, citing them as no longer filmmaker-friendly, whilst production partner Legendary Entertainment has already sued the studio over its release strategy for Dune. 

Now, Village Roadshow, a Warner Bros production partner for over a quarter of a century, has slapped the studio with a lawsuit too, claiming that its release strategy for The Matrix Resurrections hurt the film’s profitability and damaged the value of the franchise as a whole.

It seems as though Village Roadshow wasn’t one of the select few that Warner Bros recompensed when it paid out a reported $200m to assorted partners and talent, to ensure that nobody’s pockets were lighter given that cinema grosses for the films in question were bound to be lower.

Whilst this one will no doubt be settled out of court, it does seem just a little uncharitable on Village Roadshow’s part, given the film’s poor reviews, not to mention the fact that it went head-to-head against the biggest box-office juggernaut we’ve seen in a long, long time in the form of Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s likely that those factors were reasons behind the film’s limp performance at cinemas, rather than its streaming release.

We’ll let you know how this one pans out, but if you want to read more, there’s an excellent breakdown of the case over at Forbes. (The original source is The Wall Street Journal which is behind a paywall.)

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