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Film Franchises: The Matrix Series (Guns. Lots of Guns.)

Over the years, many studios have tried to find ways to take the same idea that worked once, switch it around a bit and then re-market it as a sequel or even a remake.


This week, let’s feature a series whose original movie was so innovative and original that it is hailed as one of the best sci-fi movies of the 90’s. It includes two sequels that tried to match both the financial and critical success of the original. Of course we’re talking about The Matrix Series.

Here’s a bit of stats about the 3 movies (Figures from BoxOffice Mojo)

Release Year Budget Opening weekend gross Total Domestic Gross Total Worldwide Gross
Matrix 1999 $63M $28M $171M $464M
Matrix Reloaded 2003 $150M $92M $281M $742M
Matrix Revolutions 2003  $150M $48M $139M $427M

Oscar Tally

Release Year Oscar Nom. Oscar Wins
Matrix 1999 4 4
Matrix Reloaded 2003 0 0
Matrix Revolutions 2003 0 0

When the Wachowski Siblings unveiled the original movie to the world, it was hailed as a special effects wonder with a great story to wrap everyone’s heads around. The action scenes are amazingly shot which gets the adrenaline pumping and the story itself is such a mind bender that it keeps the viewer interested throughout. The themes of love, sacrifice and of course heroism all shine throughout.

Keanu Reeves, who made a name for himself 6 years earlier as an action hero in Speed (1993), once again was able to prove his detractors wrong; he CAN carry an action movie all by himself.

The original was also a huge financial success since it was able to gross 8 times its budget. Obviously, once a movie shows this kind of success, the bean counters decided to make a sequel in order to “cash in” on that success. The ideas that flowed into the Wachowski Siblings’ heads were so vast that in the end it was decided to make two sequels, filmed back-to-back and released within the same year.

This was practically unheard of at the time and was truly a risk the studio felt worth taking. Unfortunately, the ideas that they had for both movies got too convoluted along the way and after the first sequel came out and people were scratching their heads, it was a given that the finale would not be as successful.

The budget for each sequel was almost 3 times the budget of the original. The first sequel earned nearly 5 times its budget, but that was mainly due to viewers wanting to see something as good as the original. By the time the second sequel came out 6 months later, the series had lost lots of fans and that film only managed to earn a bit less than triple its budget. Obviously, all 3 films can be seen as financial successes, but nowhere near what was original anticipated and expected. The story that moved thru the sequels just wasn’t as good and ground breaking as the original and that really hurt the franchise as a whole.

Franchise Ranking

DirectorsAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski   StarsKeanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

The Slant: An innovative and original idea that will go down in history as one of the very best sci-fi movies of it’s generation.

Best Moment: Lobby Shootout

Poster_-_The_Matrix_Reloaded2aMatrix Reloaded (2003)

DirectorsAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski   StarsKeanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

The Slant: A good sequel that takes a good idea, builds on it but leaves us wanting much more.

Best Moment: Chateau Fight Scene

Matrix_revolutions_ver73aMatrix Revolutions (2003)

DirectorsAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski   StarsKeanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

The Slant: The finale just doesn’t do the series any justice. What started out as a great idea is whittled down into an excessive fight scene that loses all of the meaning and magic of where the series began.

Best Moment: Blaze of Glory

Final Thoughts

The Original Matrix movie gave the world an amazing movie with so much to think about, but the subsequent sequels try to be too intellectual and become convoluted and silly by the time the story is done.Yet another example as to why it isn’t usually worthwhile to make sequels of a successful movie.

Rob is a contributing writer for TMI. Visit his movie review website MovieRob.

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