As if Warner Bros. didn’t have enough going on dealing with disgruntled DC fans with their handling of the comic book franchise’s cinematic universe, the movie studio giant is now facing a lawsuit by longtime production company business partners Village Roadshow.
The complaint centers around the rollout of The Matrix Resurrections, with Village Roadshow contending that WB parent company WarnerMedia hampered the film’s commercial prospects by putting a heavy emphasis on streaming, Deadline reports.
The fourth installment of the cyberpunk franchise, centering on humans being tricked by machines into believing a digitally constructed world is the real thing, has only managed to barely inch toward the $150 million mark at the worldwide box office after its December release. It was the last film in WB’s simultaneous release strategy in 2021 of unleashing new movies to both theaters and HBO Max on the same day, due to the coronavirus.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, claims WB breached the contract they had with Village Roadshow. The 50-page complaint derided “the deliberate and consistent coordinated efforts of WB to eviscerate the significant value of Village Roadshow’s intellectual property.”
In a prepared statement, WB responded, saying, “This is a frivolous attempt by Village Roadshow to avoid their contractual commitment to participate in the arbitration that we commenced against them last week. We have no doubt that this case will be resolved in our favor.”
In 2022, WB plans to make individualized decisions about its movie rollouts, rather than do a simultaneous theater-and-stream premiere for each and every movie as it did last year.