We’re in a strange place where the box office still isn’t close to anything resembling normal. But we’re seeing some big films released in theaters, so it can sometimes feel like maybe the box office should be looking more like what it once did. Christmas is a busy season at the box office historically, and this year will be as well, although early projections show that some movies, like The Matrix: Resurrections won’t necessarily be the big financial success stories we might be expecting.
The Matrix: Resurrections will be hitting theaters on December 22, the Wednesday before Christmas, and so it will have a somewhat unusual start, considering it won't be hitting on the traditional Friday. That might account for the fact that Box Office Pro is projecting a three day opening of only between $35 and $50 million, since the movie’s first three days will be during the week, rather than a weekend.
However, the same source is projecting that The Matrix Resurrections will only see a total domestic gross of between $95 and $135 million. While it might be easy to blame the pandemic and the fact that many still aren’t looking to return to theaters, Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently projected to bring in $520 million at minimum, so the box office potential is certainly still there, but the Keanu Reeves movie doesn't appear to be bringing it in.
Of course, while Spider-Man: No Way Home is looking to have an incredibly strong box office, that’s likely one of the things working against the new Matrix movie. No Way Home won’t even be at the end of its first full week when Resurrections comes out, so there will be strong competition there. Add to that the fact that many will likely watch the movie on HBO Max rather than go to the theater, which can’t be done with most of the other Christmas releases, and we can start to see at least part of why The Matrix will struggle at the box office.
Still, while there are reasons The Matrix might not have box office returns like we might expect, these numbers are still looking quite low. Even if Resurrections puts up the high end projection of $135 million it will still be the lowest grossing Matrix movie to date, and that’s even before you adjust for inflation. Add to that that Sing 2, which is being released the same day, is projected to do a domestic gross of between $125 and $175 million, and the Matrix might lose out at the box office to animated pop singers.
It’s still early, of course. These projections are far from final and as promotion of The Matrix: Resurrections continues (these numbers were released prior to the most recent trailer) they will more than likely increase. Maybe Resurrections will surprise us and have the blockbuster opening we're expecting from one of the biggest modern movie franchises.
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