The Matrix is assaulting 2003 with an unprecedented array of inter-connected product, theatrical, and Web events, including Web and theatrical releases of Animatrix episodes, special DVD releases, a videogame, and the two movie sequels scheduled for May and November in a two-fer follow-up to the hit first movie released in 1999. 


The action begins this week with the Web release of the first of four Animatrix episodes  (individual anime-influenced shorts featuring different aspects of The Matrix, see 'Animatrix Episode Bows on Web'), to be followed by Web releases of additional episodes in March, April, and May.   On March 21 another Animatrix episode, Final Flight of the Osiris, will be released theatrically with Dreamcatcher, a Lawrence Kasdan supernatural thriller based on a Stephen King novel.  Written by the Wachowski brothers, creators of The Matrix mythos, Final Flight of the Osiris will serve as 'The Matrix 1.5,' depicting events that occur after The Matrix, and leading into the videogame and The Matrix Reloaded. 


On April 29th, a special two-disk edition of The Matrix on DVD will be released, which will include both the original movie and The Matrix Revisited (see 'Matrix Revisited DVD Now in Stores') with all of their extras, plus a coupon good for admission to The Matrix Reloaded, the May sequel; Preload: On the Set of Reloaded, a featurette; an Animatrix preview; a Marilyn Manson music video' a teaser for the Enter the Matrix videogame, and a sample of Reloaded music. 


Then on May 15th, The Matrix Reloaded will bow in theaters on the same day as the Infogrames videogame Enter the Matrix streets.  The Wachowski-written continuity for Enter the Matrix is all new, and ties into The Matrix Reloaded. 


And on June 3, the Animatrix DVD will street, with all nine of the Matrix anime, including four that will not have been previously seen. 


The release date for The Matrix Reloaded DVD has not been announced, but it will presumably be before the November theatrical release of the final portion of the trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions. 


In addition to the DVDs, pop culture retailers will also be able to sell the McFarlane toys (see 'McFarlane Toys Grabs Matrix License'), busts from Gentle Giant/Dark Horse (see 'Dark Horse Adds Film Licenses'), and other products in what has been dubbed 'The Year of The Matrix.'