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Warner sets ’03 dates for ‘Matrix’ sequels

'Reloaded' bows May 15; 'Revolutions' during holidays

Warner Bros. Pictures has set the domestic release of “The Matrix Reloaded” for May 15, one day earlier than expected.

The second Matrix sequel, “The Matrix Revolutions,” also will be released in 2003, sometime during the holiday season.

“There’s a pent-up demand for the movie, and we want to get it out there as soon as we can,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warners’ executive VP and general sales manager, domestic distribution, of the studio’s decision for a Thursday release. “It’s already an event, but we wanted to make it more pronounced.”

This is the first time that Warners has released a film on a Thursday.

The first “Matrix” sequel will go out on more than 3,200 screens, eight days before the Memorial Day weekend. This release pattern mimics the one adopted by “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”

Dibs on date

“Matrix Reloaded” is the first film to put a claim on that weekend, with Columbia Pictures’ Eddie Murphy starrer “Daddy Day Care” slated to follow May 23. The prior weekend, May 9, brings another Col title, the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez starrer “Gigli.”

“The Matrix Reloaded” reunites producer Joel Silver and writer-directors Larry and Andy Wachowski with stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving.

Warners co-financed the pictures with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment. They will be distributed worldwide by Warners and in select territories by Village Roadshow.

“The Matrix” opened in North America on March 31, 1999, and grossed $458 million worldwide and $171.5 million domestically. It also became the first DVD title to sell 1 million units.

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