‘Matrix’ co-producer Village Roadshow sues Warner Bros over streaming release

Red carpet for the premiere of The Matrix Resurrections in San Francisco
FILE PHOTO: People wait for the guests to arrive at the red carpet for the premiere of The Matrix Resurrections in San Francisco, California, U.S., December 18, 2021. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

February 7, 2022

(Reuters) – “The Matrix Resurrections” co-producer Village Roadshow Entertainment Group has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros, alleging the studio’s move to release the film simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters was a breach of contract.

In a suit filed in the Los Angeles superior court on Monday, Village Roadshow also alleged that Warner Bros, owned by AT&T Inc unit WarnerMedia, had moved the release date of the film to 2021 from 2022 to help HBO Max attract more subscribers.

The lawsuit pointed to other box-office winners such as “SpiderMan: No Way Home” that were released in late 2021 without a simultaneous streaming release.

“We have no doubt that this case will be resolved in our favor,” a spokesperson for Warner Bros said.

Warner Bros had announced in late 2020 that its entire slate of movies for 2021 would be available in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day.

The news underlines growing tensions between entertainment players as media companies sharpen their focus on their streaming platforms at the cost of traditional distribution platforms.

Last year, actress Scarlett Johansson got into a legal dispute with Walt Disney Co over the film “Black Widow” after the company offered the movie on its subscription streaming service Disney+ at the same time the film was playing in theaters.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)