The Matrix Resurrections may have raked in millions at the global box office, but the movie failed to make a big impression over the holiday season on the domestic market. In the aftermath of the financial reception, Village Roadshow Pictures filed a lawsuit which alleged that distributor Warner Bros. violated its contract by releasing the film to streaming. A verdict has not been reached, but Warner Bros. has provided an argument against the claims via recently released court documents.
Warner Bros. is refuting the allegations made by Village Roadshow Pictures, the production company behind the original Matrix and the ensuing franchise. According to Variety, Warner Bros. is claiming that it never promised The Matrix Resurrections would be given an exclusive theatrical release. The distributor is also alleging that Village Roadshow is still on the hook for $112.5 million in various expenses, including production and advertising. The production company stated that it could not pay the reported debt because the streaming release “gutted the value of the film.”
With a budget of over $190 million and a viral marketing campaign, Resurrections was considered a box office flop by many major outlets. Some critics pointed to the film’s dual release on HBO Max as the reason, something Village Roadshow seems to feel strongly about. Per initial reports, the lawsuit specifically claimed Warner Bros. breached its co-financing contract by agreeing to release The Matrix Resurrections both in theaters and on HBO Max. Variety reported that the production company even alleges that Warner purposely made the move in order to generate new users for the streaming service.
Warner Bros.’ rebutting court documents were compiled by Daniel Petrocelli, who also defended Disney when Scarlett Johansson sued the House of Mouse in a similar breach of contract case. The actress had allegedly lost out on millions of dollars when Black Widow was released in theaters and on Disney+.
Daniel Petrocelli is claiming that the original contract did not contain an exclusivity clause pertaining to “Warner’s release obligations” and that the company was therefore entitled to make whatever release decisions they saw fit. Village Roadshow Pictures, on the other hand, is reportedly attesting that The Matrix Resurrections was meant to be released in a manner “consistent with customary commercial practices in the motion picture industry.”
Village Roadshow asked to file an injunction, which the presiding judge approved. A status hearing is scheduled to take place on March 11. The court session will also include a discussion on other upcoming projects that the two sides are set to co-produce, including Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka and an Edge of Tomorrow television spin-off.
The Matrix Resurrections left HBO Max on January 22, but it’s still playing in select theaters around the country. The film is also available to rent on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV. If you’ve already caught up with Neo and the rest of the Matrix gang, you can check out more upcoming movie releases set to hit theaters soon.
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