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HBO Max is down again. Producer of the new “Matrix” sues the label for “miserable premiere”

The movie “: Resurrection” premiered in December 2021 and earned USD 37 million in the US, while on the global market it won USD 153 million. The problem is that the budget was around 190 million, which means that the creators suffered significant losses. For comparison, “The Matrix: Reloaded” grossed 740 million in 2003, making it the most profitable part of the series. The producer of the new “The Matrix” believes that the new production has suffered a financial failure due to Warner Bros. strategy.

The producers of “Matrix” are suing Warner

Warner Bros. at the end of 2020, as part of dealing with the effects of the pandemic, it decided on a non-standard variant of action and introduced a hybrid model of distribution of premiere films, hailed as “Project Popcorn”. From 2021, all films produced by the studio will be released simultaneously in cinemas and on the HBO Max platform – there, subscribers can watch the titles for 45 days from the premiere for free. The tactic was not warmly welcomed by the rest of the film industry – Studio Legendary even faced a lawsuit.

Then the matter theoretically quieted down, although, for example, the director Denis Villeneuve criticized the premiere of his spectacular “Dune” on the platform. He argued that the film was created specifically for the big screen and that watching it on a laptop or phone thwarts all the efforts of the creators and did not do justice to the production artistry. Dune, however, grossed $ 399,064,537 worldwide on a budget of $ 165 million. Such a return on investment was not achieved by the producers of “The Matrix”, who filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros.

Village Roadshow claims that the contract has been breached – Warner is acting to the financial detriment of the partner, because he uses his productions to increase the profitability of his own brands. But he no longer shares the profits with producers and hides them from the co-owners of copyrights. The producer in the lawsuit indicates that the studio is not able to hide only the profits from the box offices, and therefore works to reduce them.

“Warner Bros.’s strategy not only made the premiere of ‘The Matrix: Resurrection’ a box office fiasco, but also seriously damaged the franchise as a whole. There is no doubt that the meager ticket revenue undermines the brand and related projects, certainly make film studios unwilling to invest in additional sequels and derivative films set in the same universe “- we read in the lawsuit cited by. Warner Bros. Activities According to the Village Roadshow, they are intended to destroy the cinema market and hinder the adequate settlement of production costs. How are the film production costs of around $ 200 million to be recovered, if a significant proportion of viewers can watch the film at home without incurring any additional costs, the film producer argues.

Warner Bros. replied, “It is a reckless attempt by the Village Roadshow to shirk its contractual obligation to participate in the arbitration we initiated against them last week. We have no doubt that the matter will be settled in our favor.”

The Matrix: Resurrection has received mixed reviews. Some were captivated by the meta-level of ironic references in the script, while others decided that the film was made by force and did not defend itself. The production may have had poor results in theaters, but Warner recently shared the information that the HBO Max platform in 2021 gained more than five million new users in the United States alone. At the end of 2021, Warner decided that the films would not debut on the HBO Max platform 45 days after the cinema premiere.

Disney also had problems with hybrid distribution: after the premiere of “Black Widow”, Scarlett Johanson got into a dispute with Disney. The actress sued the studio for exposing her to financial losses resulting from the fact that her superhero movie could be watched simultaneously in cinemas and on the Disney + platform. Her salary was to depend on the sale of tickets.

“Black Widow” with a budget of $ 200 million. grossed $ 379 million in cinemas. When the film hit theaters, it broke the opening record of the US COVID-19 pandemic. A week later, there was a significant – much greater than in the case of other Marvel productions – drop in cinema revenues. It was commented then that it was the result of the decision on the hybrid premiere. In response to the actress’s lawsuit, Disney revealed the financial details of her contract: Johansson received $ 20 million for her role in “Black Widow”, and according to Disney, the premiere of Disney + could only increase this profit. A media fight, in which many famous characters from the world of film, defended Johansson, ended with a settlement.

Source: Gazeta

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