Warner Bros. find themselves in court over The Matrix Resurrections. According to The Wall Street Journal and Variety, they are being sued by Village Roadshow who alleges that the studio sabotaged the theatrical release of The Matrix Resurrections in order to drive subscribers to HBO Max rather than customers to theaters.
Village Roadshow has been working with Warner Bros. for years and they have co-financed many successful movies together such as Joker.
The suit claims that Warner Bros. did not consult with or notify Village Roadshow before opting to put The Matrx Resurrections day-and-date on HBO Max. This is a similar theme to the disagreement with Legendary Pictures earlier in the pandemic when Warner Bros. release strategy was challenged by them.
The fourth Matrix movie was a loss-maker at the box office with only $148 million.
Village Roadshow claim the day-and-date release facilitated piracy, and drove down in-theater demand. They point to the soaraway success of Spider-Man: No Way Home and No Time To Die as proof that theatrical releases were viable at the time.
There is also a further twist. As the movie flopped in theaters, Village Roadshow cannot make its contractual payment to Warner Bros. which means they could lose the rights to the franchise going forward. As a kicker they also claim Warner Bros. are doing the dirty on them and trying to deprive them of their rights to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
They also claim that Edge of Tomorrow is similarly being undermined for them, with Warner’s deciding to push forward with a TV show.
Warner Bros. has stated that they were seeking arbitration and that Village Roadshow are seeking confirmation of contractual breach via the courts.
Hollywood. So collaborative, friendly, and collegiate.