Guns blazing, the third installment in the Wachowski Bros.’ blockbuster sci-fi series bursts into theaters worldwide today as Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and producer Joel Silver get a jump on the weekend box office competition with The Matrix: Revolutions. In addition to opening simultaneously in 80 countries this week, the EFX-driven actioner is at the same time hitting 60 massive IMAX screens.
While the first Matrix was a sleeper hit when it debuted in 1999, The Matrix: Reloaded was one of this year’s most eagerly awaited films. While the hype paid off to the tune of $281.5 million domestically, the film left audiences and critics divided when reviews and water-cooler word-of-mouth came out. Critical response to Revolutions is even more toward the lower end of the scale according to http://www.rottentomatoes.com, which shows an average rating of 5.9 on a scale of 1-10.
Still, Revolutions is a critic-proof film. Even fans who were disappointed with the last outing will surely be lured by the prospect of seeing the trilogy resolved. A recent eBrain poll concluded that one in every two adult moviegoers plans to see the film. The syndicated online market research study used a representative sample group of nearly 700 people and found that 52% had their nine bucks reserved for Neo and pals. New Line’s own trilogy-closer, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, scored slightly higher with 57%
One thing being praised is the jaw-dropping visual effects work in Revolutions. Efforts by Animal Logic, BUF, CIS, CFX, ESC, Giant Killer Robots, Sony Pictures Imageworks and PLF will surely thrill on the big, big screen, for which the film has been digitally re-mastered for IMAX-quality image and sound using the proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. This will mark the first time that a major live-action event film is released simultaneously in the 35mm and IMAX formats.
Pick up the September issue of Animation Magazine and go behind the scenes with the saga’s visual EFX supervisor John Gaeta as he discusses the challenges of creating two different worlds and Revolutions climactic battles.