Remember when people were saying Matrix was going to be the next Star Wars? I can't believe how quickly all the hype and interest died after two terrible sequels.
I love the Matrix series as a combined whole and they are far superior to either Star Wars series. As for cultural impact, well, I still see a lot more references to the Matrix these days than to SW, but overall I wouldn't rate it in the same league. Lord of the Rings was possibly more successful in terms of quality and it got huge box office numbers but people don't really talk about it that much. Avatar may be more successful in recent years in terms of altering perception of what Hollywood is capable with modern tech, than anything other than the original SW.
Ranked in order of t-shirts and caps seen in public(LOL) in the last 2 weeks: Buckaroo Banzai: 1, SW: 2, Star Trek: 1