A new LA Times interview with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara is putting The Matrix franchise back in the spotlight. The Wachowskis’ – Lana and Lily (then Larry and Andy at the time of the films’ popularity), directed the trilogy from 1999 through 2003, spawning the franchise from a multitude of mediums and influences drawing from religion, philosophy, pop culture, anime sci-fi and kung fu.
Tsujihara gave the franchise a mention amid answering questions on what other franchises he would like to see rebooted – this, after a lengthy discussion on life at at Warner Bros. following AT&T’s purchase of TimeWarner Inc. (now branded WarnerMedia) for $85.4 billion dollars last year, and adapting to the evolving atmosphere in the world of entertainment.
“We have incredible franchises on the features side such as ‘The Matrix.'”, he said. “We’d love to work with George Miller on furthering the ‘Mad Max’ franchise. We feel there’s a big opportunity on the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera side as well. We need to invest and build those franchises up. We think that, despite their age, they still maintain a special place in kids’ hearts…”
The Matrix debuted in 1999 with the story of Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) whose search for an elusive outlaw named Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) would find him spirited away from his current reality. Forced to confront the dark, dystopian, machine-conquered world around him, Neo’s harrowing journey of self-discovery would bring him front-and-center with deadly cybernemesis, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) amid questions of his own purpose, and the fate of the woman he loves, Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss), as the war between man and machine reaches its boiling point.
The movies garnered upwards of $1.6 billion dollars and preceded the current fandom for Reeves in lieu of the hit 2014 film, John Wick, and its sequels. Above all else in terms of influence, while Stephen Norrington’s Blade made the first stride in introducing the concept of “bullet time”, it was the The Matrix Trilogy that proliferated the technique, heightening the standards for action stylization in movies. This, coupled with the Hong Kong crossover period of the late 20th century that incurred the zeitgeist with people like kung fu cinema legend Yuen Woo-Ping (i.e. the use of wires and high-end fight choreography), played a pivotal role in changing the way the West looked at how Hollywood movies were made and seen.
I know for me, some of those memories were spent going into my college campus and watching the blocking tapes at the franchise website. I love watching behind-the-scenes gems like that and seeing stunt players choreograph as the team effort behind the stunts, in my view, is really just part of the spectacle of the film altogether.
To date, talks of a reboot with previous name drops of Michael B. Jordan in the mix have really been just that. As for the reboot prospects, here’s Tsujihara making it official, along with word of George Miller who made bank with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron on Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015.
What are your thoughts?