It was going to be a Sophie's Choice for modern movie audiences. Accepting that Keanu Reeves is one of the most wonderful people on earth, which, seems to be a given, then a new Keanu Reeves movie is a special day. But how would you handle it if two Keanu Reeves movies were set to debut on the same day? That's how things have been set up since late last year when the both John Wick: Chapter 4 and The Matrix 4 were given the same release date, May 21, 2021. How in the world would anybody choose? Luckily, now, we don't have to. Except that's also the bad news.
As part of the perpetual reshuffling of movie release dates that we're seeing as studios continue to try and figure out what the post-pandemic movie world will look like, THR reports Lionsgate has pushed John Wick: Chapter 4 back more than a year, and the film will now debut May 27, 2022. So now we don't need to worry about picking which Keanu movie we're going to watch first, but we have to wait a whole extra year for the next chapter of John Wick.
It seemed like a shifting of a release date for either John Wick 4 or Matrix 4 was going to happen at some point. While the films were made by different studios and neither was beholden to the other, it was just an odd situation to be in. Considering that one major target audience for both films was obviously going to be "Keanu Reeves fans" both movies would take a hit on opening weekend and split that audience. We rarely see two major film releases of this size share a weekend, regardless of who is in the movies, because studios don't want to run the risk of losing out on box office to another strong competitor.
At the same time, there was likely a bit of brinkmanship going on, as both studios also wanted to hold on to that key release date, not wanting to let the other studio have it. Lionsgate is the one that blinked first, but under the circumstances it's not that surprising. John Wick Chapter 4 hadn't begun production yet, so it was easier to move.
And it's still possible that The Matrix 4 will also let that release date go, as the movie is one of those that had to stop production due to the pandemic, and depending on when things can get underway again, it may be difficult for the movie to be finished in time.
While there certainly would have been some competition between the two films if they had opened together, there's still a great deal of support between the makers of the two films, as John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski is still helping out Lana Wachowski on The Matrix 4 as well as working on his own film.
Who knows, maybe, if The Matrix 4 also ends up needing to push back its opening by a year, and then we can still have Keanu Reeves Day in May 2022.