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WIRE Buzz: The Matrix 4 extends production; box office return; Monstrum trailer

By Josh Weiss
Keanu Reeves The Matrix Reloaded

Production on The Matrix 4 has been considerably stymied by a virus. Not a computer bug, but a real one: the coronavirus. The highly-anticipated follow-up to Revolutions was supposed to wrap up in Berlin after its main shoot in San Francisco, but was put on hold when the pandemic became more of a pressing issue in March. As a result, nothing in Europe was filmed.

Now, Variety reports that Warner Bros. is hoping to ramp up production in early July, with the cast (a very large ensemble) signing on for eight additional weeks of remaining on standby in case the cameras can reload. They're "on hold until at least July 6," says the trade report.

The Matrix Trinity

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are reprising their roles of Neo and Trinity respectively. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick cHarris, Ellen Hollman, Brian J. Smith, Jessica Henwick, Jada Pinkett Smith, Toby Onwumere, Priyanka Chopra, and Jonathan Groff co-star.

Lana Wachowski (who helmed the original trilogy with her sister, Lilly) returns to direct from a script she wrote with Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell.

At this time, the film is still on track to hit its intended release date of May 21, 2021.

From Kingdom to Ju-On, South Korea is one of the greatest countries in the world when it comes to sheer genre content output. The latest offering is Monstrum, a creature feature set against the backdrop of the Black Plague in the 16th century. Wow, relevant much?

As if a deadly disease wasn't enough, the residents of Mount Inwangsan are being stalked by a deadly being known as "Monstrum." To quell the rising flood of panic among his people, King Jungjong brings his most trusted general, Yoon-gyeom, out of retirement. Joining forces with his daughter Myeong; right-hand man Seong-han; and royal court officer Heo, the general embarks on a journey to find the creature, which could just be a hallucination of the masses' collective fear.

Check out the trailer below:

As of today, the film is available to stream on Shudder.

When movie theaters finally re-open, they'll look a lot different than they did before the pandemic.

But even with reduced audience quotas, social distancing seating arrangements, and regular sanitization protocols, the new model can still prove financially successful for the films (Warner Bros.' Tenet and Disney's Mulan among the first) looking to bring the exhibitor industry back to life.

“Even at reduced capacity because of social distancing, there would will be plenty of seats for the summer release schedule the way it is mapped out now,” Chris Aronson, Paramount's president of domestic distribution, told The Hollywood Reporter

Per several of THR's box office sources, "It isn't unusual for 50 percent of seats at U.S. theaters to remain empty on the weekends without dampening business overall."

And that's referring to times before the current situation! 

Tenet Mulan

If all goes as planned, Tenet will play on an unprecedented number of screens around the country, beating out last summer's Lion King remake, which was shown at nearly 5,000 locations.

"While the social distancing protocols that theaters will enact will most certainly limit an individual auditorium's capacity in the early months of the relaunch, this will be more than offset by the sheer number of screens within a multiplex that can be devoted to what is expected to be initially a reduced inventory of brand new films," Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore said on CNBC's Squawk Alley (via THR).

He added: "Everyone understands that for any brick-and-mortar business, that, in the early days of a re-launch, reduced capacity will be a mandated way of life and not a reflection of a lack interest or enthusiasm for the businesses themselves, be it a restaurant, a bar or a movie theater."

Tenet is set for release on Friday, July 17. Mulan is set to arrive a week later on Friday, July 24.