The Matrix Reloaded

Release Date: May 15, 2003

Hugo and Keanu argue over who should get the larger cut of the sequels.

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When it comes to films achieving cult status, very few movies come close to reaching the same magnitude that The Matrix attained after it was released in 1999. With moderate expectations before its release and some incredibly mixed early buzz, the sci-fi feature from second time directors Andy and Larry Wachowski wreaked havoc on the box office, as people went to the film over and over and brought their friends with them to every showing. The Matrix was the lead-in to one of the biggest summers in history, a summer so successful that the following summer couldn't help but see an overall drop in its box office. And up until the release of Shrek a few months ago, The Matrix was the best-selling DVD in history; this is even more impressive when considering that movies such as Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and The Sixth Sense were also released in that time frame. In fact, The Matrix was number 15 on the Sales chart after 96 weeks in release and remained on the top-seller sales chart for up to 107 weeks afterwards. That is one of the most amazing stats ever linked to a film, period.

So the popularity of, and vehement love shown for, this film are obvious and quite impressive. It is a movie that has transcended popularity and has become a part of pop culture itself. No movie over the last 15 years has been parodied, referenced or imitated as much as The Matrix, and no movie in recent memory has inspired as much as The Matrix...and it was only released three years ago! So there is no doubt about how big of an event the two sequels to the film will be. First up for release is The Matrix Reloaded, a title that received some resistance by fans but is slowly growing on the public. Being shot in Sydney, Australia and Oakland, California, the movie has seen its share of early trouble, and the production has been eventful, to say the least.

Tragically, the production has seen two of its cast members pass away. First was actress/singer Aaliyah, who passed away on August 25th, 2001 in a plane crash. Aaliyah was set to play Niobe, Morpheus' love interest. The role has since been filled by Jada Pinkett-Smith. The second loss was that of Gloria Foster, who passed away September 29th, 2001 from complications of diabetes. Foster played the memorable part of Oracle, the wise sage who gave Neo some cryptic yet ultimately enlightening advice. These tragedies happened after there was a huge delay in filming due to Keanu Reeves severely injuring his ankle while prepping for the film. Early plans were to have Reloaded, the first of the two sequels, out in late summer 2002, but that has obviously changed. The movie is currently set for a May 2003 release in a year that will most likely be known as the Year of the Fan-Boy. The Matrix Reloaded, along with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, should stand head-and-shoulders above the rest, and it is very likely that the former will break all sorts of box-office records.

beyond the box office, producer Joel Silver and the Wachowskis are promising some revolutionary and very cool things in this movie. The biggest change that will be made is that the creators will introduce group fighting scenes, in addition to one-on-one fighting. It is clear that the Wachowskis are big fans of the kung-fu genre and will draw a lot of their inspiration from that. On top of that, both are former employees of Marvel Comics and have a deep love and appreciation for the comic book medium, and will bring those experiences to the film as well. One of the more imaginative things they will be doing is an extension of the bullet-time effect first made popular in the original Matrix. The Wachowskis have said that the characters in the sequels will have the ability to move and fight at the speed of light. What they will do is have the audience perspective also move at the speed of light, and the result would be two people fighting in normal time while everything around them travels at hyper-speed. So it seems that the groundbreaking effects seen in The Matrix will once again be present, and the franchise will continue to be high on style and long on cool story.

The buzz around this film should reach a fever pitch at the beginning of 2003, and a Superbowl ad is not out of the question. Buzz is, in fact, this film's strongest ally. The Matrix was the first film to ever utilize the Internet to its full potential. The original Web site was the first movie site to present an online experience almost completely independent of the movie itself. It also helped create buzz by the simple fact of making its URL a question and being very mysterious about what it presented. Even after the release of the film, the site has hosted an online The Matrix comic book put together by top-of-the-line creators, and the site has been constantly updated ever since. I would confidently say that this film could perform well at the box office with absolutely no television advertising whatsoever. The unique connection between the storyline, technology and the Internet makes it a natural cross-marketing fit.

The lines will be long and the hype will be huge. The box-office numbers should be even bigger, but biggest of all is the confidence that the next movie in The Matrix series will be even better than what is generally considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time, and certainly one of the most popular. With The Matrix Revolutions, the third and final film in the series, set to open over the holiday period of 2003, you can forget Year of the Fan-Boy and just call it Year of the Matrix. (Walid Habboub and Kim Hollis/BOP)

July 11, 2002
The film will now see a Thursday release much like Star Wars did in 2002. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Matrix Reloaded
Main Cast Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
Supporting Cast Hugo Weaving, Roy Jones, Jr., Jada Pinkett Smith, Nona Gaye, Gloria Foster, Monica Bellucci, Gina Torres, Helmut Bakaitis, Ian Bliss, Sing Ngai, Randall Duk Kim, Harry J. Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Jr., Adrian Rayment, Neil Rayment, Lambert Wilson, Anthony
Director Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Screenwriter Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Distributor Warner Bros.
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 138 minutes
Screen Count 3,603
Awards Awards page for The Matrix Reloaded
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Matrix Reloaded
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Spider-Man 5/3/02114.84 119.39 3615 31769.00 31769.0 405.69 421.79 3.53
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 11/16/0190.29 96.36 3672 24590.00 25242.8 317.56 338.93 3.52
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 11/15/0288.36 91.86 3682 23997.00 23997.0 261.99 272.39 2.97
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones 5/17/0280.03 83.20 3161 25317.00 25317.0 310.67 323.00 3.51
Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace 5/21/9964.81 77.23 2970 21822.00 24914.9 431.07 513.70 6.01
Lord of the Rings, The: The Two Towers 12/20/0261.50 63.94 3622 16980.00 16980.0 340.48 353.99 4.89
Lord of the Rings, The: The Fellowship of the Ring 12/21/0147.21 50.38 3359 14055.00 14428.1 313.84 334.96 6.06
Mission: Impossible 5/24/9645.43 61.98 3012 18861.00 24749.7 180.98 246.91 2.87
Star Wars: SE 1/31/9735.91 47.17 2104 17067.00 21566.1 138.21 181.56 3.85
Minority Report 6/21/0235.68 37.09 3001 11889.00 11889.0 132.01 137.25 3.70
Matrix, The 4/2/9927.78 33.10 2849 9751.00 11133.0 171.38 204.23 5.82



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