Legal documents filed as part of litigation between Matrix co-creator Larry Wachowski and his estranged wife have revealed financial details of the deals struck by Infogrames and Monolith to create games based on the hit movies.
The documents were published on US website The Smoking Gun, which reproduces documentation obtained from government and law enforcement sources through freedom of information requests, and reveal exact financial terms of both existing game deals.
The documents reveal that under the terms of the deal originally signed by Interplay for the Matrix property, Interplay paid $1 million to Warner Bros and the Wachowski brothers. A further $1 million was paid when Infogrames took over the deal from Interplay, with another $1 million payment being made at the end of last year. Two further payments, of $1 million and $1.5 million, are due between now and the end of 2004.
$4.5 million of those payments count as advances on royalty payments, with Warner being due a significant percentage of net sales (14 per cent of sales in excess of 2.5 million units), and the Wachowski brothers also commanding a direct royalty from Infogrames - topping out at 10 per cent of net sales above 3 million units.
The deal with Monolith to create a Matrix massively-multiplayer title (announced by Ubi Soft at E3) actually sees Warner investing in the game, and as such no royalty advances are due there - although financial details of Ubi Soft's involvement are not mentioned in the letter. The Wachowskis, however, will receive a 5 per cent royalty on net receipts from the MMORPG.
These documents are interesting mostly in a purely academic sense - it's not often that the inner financial workings of a key licensing deal such as this one become publicly available. You can find the full version of the document at The Smoking Gun.