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''Matrix'' sequel sets a Thursday release date in 2003

”Matrix” sequel sets a Thursday release date in 2003. Emulating ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” the film will get a one-day jump on its May competition

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Call it a clone strategy. Variety reports that, next May 15, Warner Bros. will release ”The Matrix Reloaded” on 3,200 screens on a Thursday, eight days before Memorial Day weekend, just as 20th Century Fox did with ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” this year. Any similarity is apparently intentional. ”There’s a pent-up demand for the movie, and we want to get it out there as soon as we can,” Warner Bros. distribution VP Jeff Goldstein tells Variety. ”It’s already an event, but we wanted to make it more pronounced.” Warner Bros. has never released a film on a Thursday before, according to Variety, but the move will allow the film to get a one-day jump on the competition — as if any other studio will want to release a big movie that weekend and face being karate-kicked by Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus.

Still, the pre-Memorial Day weekends in May 2003 are already getting crowded with would-be early summer blockbusters. ”X-Men 2” opens May 2, the same weekend that fellow Marvel Comics hero ”Spider-Man” opened this year. May 9 sees ”Gigli,” the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez caper. May 23 features the Eddie Murphy family comedy ”Daddy Day Care.” As for ”The Matrix Revolutions,” the third movie in the trilogy, it’ll be released about six months later, during the 2003 holiday season.