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excel1

The Matrix Reloaded

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The Matrix was the most influential film of the late 1990s. Heading into 1999, the most anticipated film in at least 10 years - STAR WARS: EPISODE 1- was the talk of Hollywood and top of mind for film and sci-fi geeks everywhere. Lingering in the shadows was a smaller-profile Keanu Reeves sci-fi actioner called THE MATRIX. An immediate success from day one due to the unique use of special effects, camera angles and fighting styles, The Matrix would go on to become the most influential film of the year - and all eyes turned towards its sequel. Sensing a rare commercial opportunity,  WB greenlit 2 mega budgeted sequel at once. The scale for RELOADED would dwarf that of the original. 

 

Between 1999 and 2003, the box office changed dramatically. 2001 saw 7! films enter the top 10 opening weekends of all time including a new record of $90m set by Harry Potter 1. In 2002, Spider-man would destroy every expectation imaginable, opening to an unthinkable $39m Friday and $114m for the weekend. STAR WARS: EPISODE 2 would release on the Thursday before third weekend of May, 2002 - a release strategy that RELOADED would mimic with its planned release on Thursday, May 15th, 2003. 

 

Reloaded entered 2003 as easily the most anticipated film of summer, and potentially the year, with only RETURN OF THE KING a a legitimate challenger. The massive organic interest in the sequel to The Matrix was complimented by an extremely marketable concept - Keanu Reeves character was given the ability to fly ala Superman, fight scenes galore were added along with numerous massive set pieces. Paired with the Wachowski's natural eye for visual spectacle, THE MATRIX RELOADED - the film - was an insanely marketable final product.

 

The trailers were extraordinary, starting with a scene-stealing 1 minute long SUPER BOWL commercial: 

 

 

This was followed up with one of the greatest full length trailers ever, the legendary money-shot-galore stunner:

 

 

The internets response to this trailer was a sight to behold, matched only by trailers such as TDK trailer 1 unleashing Ledger's Joker or DA FORCE AWAKENS trailers 2 and 3. massive TV spot campaign followed, along with high-profile tie-ins with Sprite and Cadillac. So huge was the films pop culture impact that the entire 2003 MTV movie awards - hosted by Justin Timberlake and Sean William Scott - would function as a parody of the film. 

 

With absolutely deafening buzz reaching a fever pitch upon release, RELOADED would go on to crush industry expectations. Despite its R rating and opening on a Thursday, it set the opening day record with $42.5m, and would total $134m in its first 4 day - $19m more than ATTACK OF THE CLONES managed the previous year. At this time, not only was The Matrix CLEARLY bigger than Star Wars with moviegoers, it was likely the biggest in existence. Had it opened on a Friday, it would have defeated Spider-mans opening weekend record. 

 

Hard to believe this was almost 19 years ago, and it is likely difficult for younger folks to fully grasp, but this was the definition of an EVENT film. Those that do remember this films release no doubt remember hype reaching nearly the highest of levels.

Edited by excel1
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Insane to think what pop culture would be like now had Reloaded been an "Empire" or "TDK" to it's first film, one that exceeded it in quality. The movie's gross was already huge all things considered, but had word of mouth been glowing rather than mixed? It would have changed everything. Return of the King might not have been the highest grossing film that year, and rather than flaming out fairly quickly in the mid-2000s the films would have been on everyone's minds for a lot longer. 

 

Out of all the would be "Next Star Wars", Matrix had the best chance at being it. 

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2 hours ago, Mango said:

Insane to think what pop culture would be like now had Reloaded been an "Empire" or "TDK" to it's first film, one that exceeded it in quality. The movie's gross was already huge all things considered, but had word of mouth been glowing rather than mixed? It would have changed everything. Return of the King might not have been the highest grossing film that year, and rather than flaming out fairly quickly in the mid-2000s the films would have been on everyone's minds for a lot longer. 

 

Out of all the would be "Next Star Wars", Matrix had the best chance at being it. 

 

For sure.

 

Though THE MATRIX is VERY late 1990s though.

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On 2/6/2022 at 10:00 PM, excel1 said:

At this time, not only was The Matrix CLEARLY bigger than Star Wars with moviegoers, it was likely the biggest in existence.

That last bit seems to be a bit of a hyperbole, considering the movie only made as much the rest of the way as it did in its first four days. And no, that wasn't just from the reception being not that great.

 

Its opening was insane. An R-rated movie that would have broken the opening weekend record if it had opened on Friday is flat out ridiculous. But this movie only appealed to a certain audience to begin with. Thats why the enormous hype could cause such an opening, and why the rest of the way was rather lackluster. A certain part of the moviegoing public was hyped beyond belief, but the rest didn't care much, and the reception didn't do anything to persuade them otherwise.

 

If the movie had seen a great reception, it may have moved the franchise up there with the other top guns, instead it faded rather quickly. The (domestic) top-dog at that time was Spiderman, not Matrix, followed by a bunch of stuff that was somewhat similar in scale. Internationally, LOTR and Harry Potter were dominating.

There is a difference between a giant opening with tons of hype, and the eventual outcome. A huge opening is great, but it isn't all there is. Spiderman was in another league, AOTC beat it, LOTR beat it and kept growing, even emerging Pirates of the Carribean bested it. Matrix Reloaded was huge, and had a chance to be more than that, but Matrix wasn't the biggest franchise in existence at that time.

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3 hours ago, George Parr said:

That last bit seems to be a bit of a hyperbole, considering the movie only made as much the rest of the way as it did in its first four days. And no, that wasn't just from the reception being not that great.

 

Its opening was insane. An R-rated movie that would have broken the opening weekend record if it had opened on Friday is flat out ridiculous. But this movie only appealed to a certain audience to begin with. Thats why the enormous hype could cause such an opening, and why the rest of the way was rather lackluster. A certain part of the moviegoing public was hyped beyond belief, but the rest didn't care much, and the reception didn't do anything to persuade them otherwise.

 

If the movie had seen a great reception, it may have moved the franchise up there with the other top guns, instead it faded rather quickly. The (domestic) top-dog at that time was Spiderman, not Matrix, followed by a bunch of stuff that was somewhat similar in scale. Internationally, LOTR and Harry Potter were dominating.

There is a difference between a giant opening with tons of hype, and the eventual outcome. A huge opening is great, but it isn't all there is. Spiderman was in another league, AOTC beat it, LOTR beat it and kept growing, even emerging Pirates of the Carribean bested it. Matrix Reloaded was huge, and had a chance to be more than that, but Matrix wasn't the biggest franchise in existence at that time.

 

Reloaded would have beaten Spider-man's 3 day weekend record, and decisively beat pretty much everything else. It was the biggest at that moment in time. The only reason its totals ended up where they did was the subpar WOM and the dramatic breakout of Jim Carrey's return to comedy with Bruce Almighty. 

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