The Matrix Resurrections co-producer, in a new lawsuit, blames the film’s lackluster box office numbers on a same-day streaming release. According to the Wall Street Journal, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group today filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros., the owner of the HBO Max streaming platform. The lawsuit alleges that the same-day release of The Matrix Resurrections and the postponement of the film’s release date constituted a breach of contract. The lawsuit also claims that moving the film’s release date from 2022 to 2021 was an offer by Warner Bros. to increase HBO Max subscriptions.
The decision taken last year by Warner Bros. to release a full slate of new movies simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters has raised many eyebrows. In addition to The Matrix, the other 16 films in Warner Bros. simultaneous release strategy included Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, King Arthur and others. The experience likely doomed their fate at the box office, as noted by The Wrap. Only two of the 17 films have made more than $100 million in domestic box office sales.
The Matrix Resurrections, which was released in December, normally a peak time for box office receipts, grossed more than $37.2 million in domestic box office sales, according to BoxOfficeMojo. This is a notable drop from a number of other blockbusters with only theatrical releases last winter, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, which grossed over $748 million. at the domestic box office and the James Bond film No Time To Die, which grossed over $160 million at the domestic box office.
Village Roadshow also alleges that Warner Bros. attempts to keep the company out of future movie and TV deals. “WB has also devised various schemes to deprive Village Roadshow of its continuing co-ownership and co-investment rights in derivative works of the films it co-owns,” the lawsuit alleged.
The Matrix lawsuit is the latest dispute between Hollywood studios and the media companies that own the streaming platforms. Last year, Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over the film’s simultaneous release strategy, which she said hurt her box office prospects and her own earnings. Johansson then received an undisclosed settlement from Disney last fall.