Warner Bros. Removes ‘Akira’ From Slate, Gives Its Release Slot to ‘Matrix 4’

Fourth “Matrix” film will be released in May 2021 on the same weekend as “John Wick: Chapter 4”


Warner Bros. has once again put plans to make a live-action version of the classic anime film “Akira” on hold, removing it from their release slate and giving its summer 2021 release spot to the untitled fourth installment of “The Matrix.”

“Matrix 4” will now be released on May 21, 2021, with original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning along with co-creator Lana Wachowski. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, and Neil Patrick Harris will also star in the film, with Abdul-Mateen and Henwick playing lead roles.

Warner Bros. first acquired the rights to adapt “Akira” back in 2002, but the project has been in development hell ever since. “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Jojo Rabbit” director Taika Waititi had been set to start production on the film this summer, but put plans on hold in order to direct a sequel to “Ragnarok.” That sequel, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” was announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con for release by Marvel Studios on November 5, 2021.

As for “Matrix 4,” this release date now means that two of Keanu Reeves’ most iconic roles are set to go against each other at the box office, as Lionsgate has set “John Wick: Chapter 4” for release on that weekend. Given the significant overlap in the audiences of the two action movie series, it is possible that Lionsgate may respond by moving the release of their most successful active franchise.

Other films set for release that May include the Marvel film “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” a Universal/DreamWorks film adaptation of the children’s TV series “Spirit Riding Free,” and the Disney live-action film “Cruella” starring Emma Stone as the “101 Dalmatians” villain.

Warner Bros. also announced release dates for “The Flash” solo movie and the third installment of “The Conjuring” on Wednesday.