Keanu to Get Waxed Off
by Joal Ryan
Is the Matrix franchise in a meltdown?
Box-office stats and DVD sales say no. But the court of public wax-museum opinion has spoken: Neo and Trinity are out.
Amid the release of the third and would-be final Matrix flick, The Matrix Revolutions, next month, the Hollywood Wax Museum figures of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will be booted from the lobby.
No, they're not getting all melty. And, yes, the tourist mecca speaks highly of the duo, depicted in their Matrix Reloaded costumes. But, all the same, they're just not hot anymore.
"We try to stay current," says Tej Sundher, general manager of the famed museum his grandfather founded nearly 40 years ago. "[The Matrix Reloaded] was current. It is not now. We are looking to find a replacement."
Actually, they've found their replacement: Mario. As in, video-game character Mario. Of Nintendo's soon-to-be-released Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
You want hot? Mario is hot.
Come mid-November, a wax figure of Mario will bow in the lobby alongside displays for evergreens The Wizard of Oz and King Kong. He would have made his debut come Tuesday, but there was a last-minute mix-up in the model sent to the museum.
Once Mario is installed, Neo and Trinity will be taken upstairs to "the magic chamber," as Sundher calls it, for refurbishing. (The statues in the lobby, he explains, are within greater "touching and feeling" distance of the public.)
After the statues are afforded their version of a spa day, they may return to the display areas where 180 of their dummy friends confound and amaze. But they probably won't return to the their star spots in the lobby.
When the Reloaded statues were unveiled in May, timed to the big-screen release of the trilogy's second chapter, the response was "fantastic," Sundher says.
Five months and $281 million in ticket sales later, the movie is ending its theatrical life and moving to home video, where it raked in an estimated $4 million in first-day sales last Tuesday.
And while another new Matrix movie, Matrix Revolutions, is due in multiplexes November 5, Sundher says, "Out of sight, out of mind. They really haven't started a lot of promotion about [Revolutions]."
According to box-office expert Paul Dergerabedian, Revolutions' time will come.
"It's one of those situations where if you saw the first film and you saw the second film, you're compelled to see the third film," says Dergerabedian, of the tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. "[Revolutions is] definitely going to be one of the bigger movies of the holiday season."
Sundher would tend to agree. "I don't know if they're not interested in the new movie," he says. "[But] our patrons really tell us what they want to see."
And in the lobby, he says, they want the new stuff to go with their Oz and Kong. Prior to Neo and Trinity, a figure of the Rock from The Scorpion King had the spotlight for several months, the better to commemorate the movie's home-video release.
Alas, the Rock's time came and went, too. The average span for a gig in the lobby is three to six months. The Rock's Scorpion King self has since been returned to the exhibit floor.
If the fates are kind, and the temperatures low, the Rock, and even Neo and Trinity, may go on to enjoy lengthy careers in the museum. While a figure has to be a hot young thing to hang in the lobby, age is not a factor elsewhere inside the Hollywood Boulevard landmark. The museum's oldest statues--depicting the Last Supper--date back to 1927, Sundher says.
So, spread the word to Morpheus: Wax figures can be forever. "As long as it's not too warm," Sundher notes.