The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth instalment in one of Hollywood’s most beloved franchises. While the sequels didn’t live up to the original, Warner Brothers’ $190 million budget for part four reflected their confidence in the film. This was misguided, as it is currently on track to not break even. Not only this, but it is just one of many recent blockbusters to fail to make its money back, with The 355 and The King’s Man similarly struggling.
The Matrix Resurrections has grossed just $124.6 million at the box office since it debuted on December 22. While it is still at theatres, any hope of it making its money back has gone, and it becomes the latest in a long line of abject failures.
Currently, the fourth chapter is on track to end up in the red to the tune of a whopping $100 million.
In fact, any hope of it springboarding the franchise back to its former glory has also collapsed, with Keanu Reeves recently telling Empire Magazine that he thinks a part five is dead.
Reeves explained: “I don’t believe so. If I had to cast a ballot — No, not a ballot, a vote. I would say that Lana would not do another Matrix.”
Resurrections’ story has been similarly echoed with the recent releases of The 355, The King’s Man, and West Side Story, all marketed as major Hollywood tentpoles.
Premiering on January 7, 2022, The 355 has suffered an abysmal opening weekend, taking in just $4.8 million internationally. The production budget for the film is estimated to be between $40 – $75 million, putting it on track to not break even.
The King’s Man on the other hand had a much higher budget of $104 million and was released on the same date of Resections – December 22. After three weeks in cinemas, it has only scraped back $74 million, also putting it on course to lose most of its money.
Stephen Spielberg’s West Side Story has also shot blanks with a worldwide taking of $53 million. This isn’t even half of its production budget of $100 million, which doesn’t even factor in the marketing spend.
One of the reasons for such dramatic losses is due to the ticket price revenue, as studios typically only make back 60% of ticket sales in the United States. Internationally, the ratio is much worse, typically clocking in at around 20% and 40%, according to Investopedia.com.
Of course, each film is marketed to audience demographics, with each group bringing with them different viewing trends. Due to the ongoing pandemic, older audiences will be more hesitant to venture to the cinema,
This may play a part in explaining Matrix 4’s woes, as while the film has certainly tried to pull in younger viewers, much of the marketing has focused on nostalgia for original fans. With the original release in 1999, the first wave of fans will now be in their 30s, or 40s, a demographic that is less likely to take a trip to the cinema.
This may also explain the West Side Story remake’s problems, but it doesn’t account for The 355 nor The King’s Man, as each is firmly targeted to a younger audience, who by and large are the biggest group of cinema attenders.
Yet, a film’s marketing also comes into play, always ballooning the cost of a major release. On average, the marketing budget will double the cost of a film’s release, dwarfing the production budget alone.
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For example, while Resurrections cost $190 million to make, it is estimated that the marketing budget was a similar cost. Therefore, it would need to rake in $380 million to break even. Due to the length of time, it has been in cinemas, there is no chance it can reach this figure now.
To put The Matrix box office into perspective though, the original film in the franchise, which premiered in 1999, had a production budget of $63 million and raked into a lifetime total of $171 million at the box office.
Naturally, its sequels were confirmed soon after (The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions) and shot back-to-back, grossing a staggering $281 and $139 million, respectively.
Clearly, the slump in the box office between Reloaded and Revolutions revealed the diminishing returns of the saga, and Resurrections has continued that trend.
The recent box office success of Spiderman: No Way Home remains an outlying to the recent box office struggles though, as the film has just become the eighth highest-grossing film of all time.
With a production budget of $200 million, the film recently crossed the $1.5 billion mark internationally.
It called into question the commercial draw of Lana Wachowski, as the director has now suffered successive disasters. One-half of the Wachowski sisters, with Lorna not returning for Matrix 4, the pair have failed to have a hit for years.
Their previous project, Sense8, was cancelled by Netflix, with their last film, Jupiter Ascending grossing $184 million to a budget of $176-$200 million.
Neither Warner Brothers, nor director Lana Wachowski has commented on the box office of The Matrix Resurrections, yet producer James McTeigue has alleviated concerns that the limited revenues brought about the cancellation of a new trilogy.
Speaking to Collider, McTeigue said: “Look, for us, I think, at the moment, it’s just the movie you’ve seen. We’ve got no prequel in mind. We’ve got no sequel in mind. We’ve got no further trilogy.”
Here’s hoping the Wachowski’s have a major hit with their next project, but it looks as though Resurrections will fail to meet the mark.