Last week, The Matrix Resurrections was finally released on HBO Max and theaters on Christmas Day. Most of the original cast members made their returns including Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann-Moss. Going into opening day, The Matrix Resurrections had a lukewarm critical reception, with the fourth entry garnering a decent 65% on rotten tomatoes. The latest installment is the third-best entry behind the first and second features. Considering the fact that The Matrix Resurrections cost reportedly between $175 – $190 million, the film desperately needed at least $300 million to break even. Unfortunately, the five-day total for The Matrix Resurrections was $22.5 domestically. Considering the brand name, this is an extremely lackluster number for a franchise that helped revolutionize the sci-fi/action genre. Now, it’s possible that the film could have incredible legs and go on to make nearly $300 million. Free Guy opened with a modest 28.4 million and made over $300 million worldwide by the end of its initial run. However, the chances of The Matrix Resurrections achieving that success are pretty slim. Of course, the HBO Max day-to-day release and the coronavirus played a part in the film starting off with dismal numbers, so those reasons won’t be included here. Let’s examine further why The Matrix Resurrections bombed at the box office in its opening weekend.
The Stunning Lack Of Marketing For This Film
The Wachowskis made it clear that they had no interest in making any more Matrix films. It’s one of the reasons Lily opted to keep away from the project. Last year, the production actually shut down for three months due to COVID related issues; however, according to Jessica Henwick, Lana Wachowski actually thought about stopping the film mid-way, “Well, maybe it’s over. Maybe we won’t go back to shooting the rest of the film. Perhaps the new Matrix will become that legendary film that was never completed, and no one will ever get to see it. Maybe this is what has to happen, there is a reason”. Now, to be clear, I’m in no way shape or form stating that Lana tried to sabotage her own film. However, it’s a strong possibly that the studio didn’t have much faith in The Matrix Resurrections. The review embargo wasn’t lifted until the day before the official wide release, which was also a troubling sign. It was notable over how quiet the marketing for The Matrix Resurrections was. The trailer actually looked good. Really good, but there was still a lack of buzz because it never appeared that the studio had much faith in the film. This is pure speculation as there hasn’t been any news regarding Warner Bros. trust in the project, but all signs point to the lack of faith in the fourth entry.
The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions Likely Turned Off A Good Portion Of Fans
The Matrix is considered an all-time classic that reshaped the action/sci-fi genre as a whole. More importantly, it was a huge money maker as the film garnered over $400 million worldwide based off a $63 million production budget. However, the following films notably damaged the brand overall. Fan interest was high for The Matrix Reloaded as it remains the highest grossing entry in the series thus far, making $741.8 million worldwide. Though that amount is nearly double the box office of the first film, it wasn’t well received by many fans. Many felt that it didn’t match the originality of the first film, nor did the action sequences match the stunning choreography of its predecessor. That negative reception drastically hurt The Matrix Revolutions, which not only drew a low 35% rotten tomatoes score, but it made back only $427.3 million worldwide. Again, fans were highly disappointed with the conclusion of the Matrix saga. Deemed a boring, overcomplicated mess that relying too heavily in CGI nonsense. That left a negative taste in fans mouths. The Wachowski’s have had an interesting career. Some feel that they’re films are terrible beyond belief, while others appreciate their style, originality, and boldness when it comes to moviemaking. However, the duo never truly recovered following their Matrix films. The sisters do have their section of fans, but Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and Jupiter Ascending are divisive pieces that never even came close to reaching the heights that Matrix achieved. Sense 8 is in the same vein as their three films, though it’s more so loved by many who have watched the series. The last two entries really stung for original Matrix fans, and the lack of success following the trilogy didn’t inspire much confidence in the latest chapter on the series.