Warner Brothers Rep Responds to Lawsuit Over ‘Matrix: Resurrections’

by Allison Hambrick
Warner-Brothers-Rep-Responds-Lawsuit-Matrix-Resurrections

Warner Bros. responded to the lawsuit filed by Village Roadshow Entertainment after the former released The Matrix: Resurrections on HBOMax.

In a lengthy statement, the studio denounced the lawsuit:

“Village’s actions have been duplicitous and this dispute is equally contrived. Village was happy to have their name on the credits of the film, traveled to the world premiere in San Francisco, and held themselves out to the media as producers on the film. But they have now reneged on their contractual obligation to pay their share of the cost of the film.

“It is notable that throughout 2021, we reached mutually acceptable agreements on all films in the 2021 slate to provide additional compensation to Talent and our partners in light of our ‘day and date’ release strategy during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The only exception was Village, which refused to honor its commitment to pay their share of production costs, rejecting the opportunity we offered to de-risk them from any financial underperformance.

“Instead, Village wanted to enjoy the benefit of publicly holding themselves out as co-owners and producers while preserving a “free look” at the ultimate outcome of the film performance without any financial investment on their part.

“This is not how we conduct business, certainly not with trusted partners.”

On December 22, 2022, The Matrix Resurrections released in theaters and on HBOMax. Despite coming from a huge franchise, it failed to turn a major profit. Resurrections only earned $150 million against a budget of $190 million. While the plot left an opening, the potential sequels were apparently dropped after the film’s release.

Warner Bros. Slammed With Suit Over Matrix Release

As a result, Village Roadshow Entertainment sought compensation for the lack of revenue. This applied not only to that of The Matrix Resurrections, but also that of future sequels.

The initial suit featured a statement of its own:

“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.”

Warner Bros, as mentioned, used this strategy with all 2021 films. A number of films became box office bombs, including The Matrix Resurrections and In the Heights, possibly as a result. During the height of pandemic, this decision made sense. Now that more and more fans are returning to theaters, the strategy is less economically viable.

 Interestingly, WB dealt with a similar situation with Wonder Woman 1984. The DC film released both in theaters and on HBOMax. The studio paid both director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot an additional $10 million. According to their statement, the Matrix stars and crew received the same treatment.

Outsider.com