‘The Matrix’ Slashed Budget By $35 Million By Filming in Australia

The Matrix is a media franchise that has dominated pop culture for decades. Not only did the series revitalize the career of Keanu Reeves, but it created a world that drew viewers in right from the start — and these days, fans are still talking about it. With a fourth film in the series currently in production, many longtime fans of the original film, The Matrix, are looking back to the days when few viewers knew the story of Neo, recalling how filmmakers had to struggle to save money in order to translate their vision to the big screen. 

‘The Matrix’ was an unlikely hit when it was released

The Matrix was released in 1999, ushering in a brand-new genre that became known as cyberpunk science fiction. A futuristic drama that told the story of a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality known as the Matrix, the movie starred Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving. 

The Matrix is an innovative film in many ways, with filmmakers utilizing influences from Japanese animation and martial arts movies to bring the fight scenes to the next level. Far from just intriguing action scenes, however, The Matrix offered up plenty of human drama and themes that resonated with fans of all ages — making the movie relevant and fascinating to this day. Directed and written by the Wachowskis, the film had to clear some hurdles during the production phase, and several times, the team had to scramble to cut corners when they could. 

Why was ‘The Matrix’ filmed in Australia?

Speed star Keanu Reeves on the red carpet for Semper Fi
Keanu Reeves | Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Matrix took several years to make, and after originally pitching the idea to different actors and teams, the Wachowskis got the film greenlit in 1997. While the cast and crew studied up on all the research and themes for the movie, the Wachowskis decided that, in order to save money, they would film The Matrix in Australia. According to The New York Times, The Matrix was ultimately filmed in Australia on a $60 million budget. Reportedly, Warner Brothers executives said it would have cost close to $95 million if it had been made in the United States instead.

The team remained in Australia through 1998, working on editing and giving the film final touches. It was released in March 1999 to immediate critical and commercial success. Fans praised the unique themes and incredible special effects in The Matrix, and it went on to win multiple Academy Awards. 

The fourth film in the ‘Matrix’ series is coming soon

By the time production started on the second and third movies in the Matrix franchise, executives weren’t worried about saving money — and both of those films were filmed in California. Furthermore, the highly-anticipated fourth film in the franchise is said to have recently wrapped filming in the Bay Area, with many fans around the area reporting sightings of Reeves and other stars. There is no exact release date set for the film yet, but with the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions slowly lifting from the entertainment business, it is likely that an announcement will be coming soon. 

The Matrix might have revolutionized the movie industry in many ways, but even though the original film is several decades old, the technology and themes remain as relevant as ever. Clearly, the love that the fans have for the franchise is still as strong as ever, and soon, viewers of all ages will get to immerse themselves into the unique world created so many years ago by the Wachowskis once again.

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