Special Report: Matrix Reloads on the Croisette: Cannes 2003

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Matrix Reloadedwas released in the US and also at the 56th Cannes Film Festival on May 16. Taking in $42.5 million on its opening day in the US, it holds the record for the single best opening day in movie history, beating out Spider Man which grossed 39.4 million on its second opening day last year. But more to behold, in its third week at the int'l box office Matrix Reloaded took in $250 million.

At its Cannes premiere, the fantastic and amazing trio of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and The One (Keanu Reeves) interfaced with friends and foes on the Croisette: Persephone (Monica Bellucci), Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) Agent Smith (Hugo Weaver) and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith. A gala party was held afterwards inside a neon green and black tent with jury member Steven Soderberg in attendance.

The Wachowski Brothers did not show, consistent with an unofficial policy to not meet the press. But reps from the other brothers, the Warner ones, did show. Sue Kroll from International marketing explained how does matrix 'reload' into a festival like Cannes. She called the sci-fi sequel a "no-brainer" since it combines "both the auteur (vision) and is commercial"

This year Todd McCarthy of Variety magazine blasted the Cannes festival for what he considered a slanted French advantage in terms of films in the official competition and sprinkled throughout the other sections, paving the way for an ideological war that perpetuates the strained diplomatic relationship between France and the US.

Matrix Reloaded was presented out of competition and is the kind of film that interests the crowd gathered to gawk at star power on the red carpet. While the French seem to flirt with American films, they are concerned that the US does not dominate the European scene. They believe, understandably so, that the US should be content with 70% of the world film market. And Matrix Reloaded opened in France, Australia and the US with the other global markets continuing the following week. To give you some idea of how the Matrix sequel went after two weekends:
In France it grossed $30.1 million making it number one at the box office (Euros 26m) and in the UK it held 57% of the market, scoring the biggest second weekend of all time for a total of $35.9m (22 million).

During several points of cinema history, particular films have been regarded as benchmarks in cinematic direction. As such, Lawrence Fishburne proclaimed at this year's Cannes that for the action genre there are films "before Matrix"... and "after". It has changed everything before and everything after in the way of making films and the way people think of making films", said Fishburne, the far and future.
Maybe its good those Brothers were hard at work and not at Cannes, because regardless of where it opened the glut of the Matrix is now global and awaiting Matrix Revolutions.


For Movie Magazine, This is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN
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Matrix Reloads on the Croisette: Cannes 2003