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After getting the green light from local censors in late November, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Matrix Resurrections has finally secured its official China release date. The film will open in the world’s largest theatrical market on Jan. 14, 2022.
The Keanu Reeves-starring franchise revival rolls out domestically on Dec. 16 and hits most major theatrical markets throughout the Christmas corridor. But it also goes live on HBO Max in the U.S. on Dec. 22, making piracy a major concern for its China earnings.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise opened in China in November many weeks after its Disney+ streaming release in the U.S. The movie ended up earning a paltry $7 million despite strong social scores and abundant local love for Dwayne Johnson.
Resurrections is currently the only U.S. movie scheduled for release in China, as the country has pared back radically on the amount of U.S.-made content in its cinemas. It remains unclear whether Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home will make it into the country before year-end.
The Matrix franchise is a fan favorite in China, but the series came out long before the country emerged as the major market force it is today. Most fans came to the first two films in the franchise, The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003), via the DVD piracy that was ubiquitous in China at the time. The Matrix Revolutions (also released in 2003) was the first Hollywood film to open theatrically in China day-and-date with major Western markets — but it screened in just 12 cinemas in Beijing and relatively few elsewhere — a reflection of the country’s limited exhibition infrastructure in that era.
Warner Bros’ official Chinese social media accounts posted the news of Matrix 4‘s release date over the weekend, along with a video dedicated to Chinese fans with Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, aka Trinity, asking, “Are you ready to go back to the Matrix?”
Resurrections picks up the story of Neo/Thomas A. Anderson (Reeves) and Trinity (Moss) twenty years later, with both still trapped inside the simulated computer-generated world but with no memory of their past or each other. The film also stars Jada Pinkett Smith (returning to the franchise) along with series newcomers Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Christina Ricci.
Like all previous Matrix films, Resurrections is written and directed by Lana Wachowski, with Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon co-writing this installment.
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