March 29, 2023

Warner Bros. Sued by ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Producers Over Streaming Release

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the production company that co-produced The Matrix Resurrections, is suing Warner Bros. over its decision to stream the film on HBO Max simultaneously as its theatrical release. In a complaint filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court, the production company alleged that the film’s distributor breached contract when WB chose a dual-release, in theaters and on HBO Max.

The lawsuit stated “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 studio announced back in 2020 that they would be releasing all of its intended 2021 releases on HBO Max, which also included Dune,  In the Heights, The Many Saints of Newark, The Suicide Squad, The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom and Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItSpace Jam: A New LegacyReminiscenceMalignant and King Richard.

The lawsuit echoes Scarlett Johansson’s suit against Disney,  which stated that her agreement with Disney-owned  Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and that her salary was based in large part on the box-office performance of the film, which was undermined when the studio made the film available to rent on Disney+. That lawsuit was settled out of court.

The Matrix Resurrections opened with a week $10,749,011 domestically, and ended up grossing  $153,588,078 worldwide. Contrast that to Disney’s blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home, whose theater-only release earned it $1,775,858,932 globally, making it the fourth highest grossing film of all time. Granted, The Matrix Resurrections’ 63% Rotten Tomato score isn’t quiteSpider-Man: No Way Home’s 93%.

In a statement, Warner Bros. has said that the lawsuit  “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.”

Source: New York Post

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