Sometimes a movie that looks like a surefire money maker can turn out to be something much more of a tepid affair than expected. Co-writer/director Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections is one such box office lamb that was seemingly led to the slaughter, during a very busy holiday movie season in 2021. Even more disheartening is the fact that after this weekend’s opening in the Chinese film market, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss’s triumphant return to The Matrix has bombed yet again; and for two very specific reasons.
Looking through the numbers compiled from its opening weekend in China, THR reported a $7.5 million result from Friday to Sunday. A smaller showing than even the domestic $12 million opening frame, the two big reasons that seem to be responsible for this latest glitch encountered by Warner Bros’ legacyquel are familiar foes. Not only was the movie reported to be heavily pirated, but audiences have apparently rated the film rather poorly.
As The Matrix Resurrections was the final theatrical/streaming hybrid release to debut on HBO Max, that first problem seems absolutely valid. If the recent theory that Black Widow’s similar debut strategy led to a supposedly massive loss of potential box office grosses is any indication, the very same could be said for the fourth Matrix film. The case against simultaneous streaming releases would appear to be strengthened, thanks to perfect copies of movies available for piracy almost immediately. Though that debate is far from reaching a conclusive victory for either side of the coin.
It’ll be interesting to see if The Batman’s more traditional release window will lead to any loss of box office, especially in light of the film already having an HBO Max release date. However, one problem that will hopefully avoid finding its way to Matt Reeves’ huge DC revival is negative fan reaction. While fans seem to be positive about the film, while also being critical on the domestic front, Chinese audiences apparently aren’t setting the internet on fire with their reactions to what was supposed to be a mind bending return to form.
There was never a plan for the next Matrix movie to kick off any sort of new trilogy, and that’s probably a good thing. Judging by the box office performance of The Matrix Resurrections, it doesn’t look like there will be any immediate intentions for Warner Bros to clamor for another sequel. Depending on who you are, that may have even been another inspiration for Lana Wachowski to craft the film that she did. We’ll just have to wait for history to reveal the truth in its own time.
If you want to catch The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max, don’t wait too much longer. Set to leave the streaming library on January 21, there’s only a couple more days before Neo’s reawakening will be removed, until it’s eventual HBO premiere. To see what’s headed to theaters in the year ahead, take a look at the 2022 release schedule; but keep in mind that Warner Bros has returned to the traditional window of theatrical exclusivity.