MGM has lost the rights to make Tomb Raider films after a planned sequel to the 2018 film collapsed, and multiple Hollywood studios are now engaged in a bidding war over the licence, per a report by The Wrap (opens in new tab).
MGM would have needed to formally commit to the sequel by May this year if it wanted to keep its hold on the movie rights for Tomb Raider, but it let the opportunity slip by. Given that rumours suggest the 2018 Tomb Raider film—which grossed around $274 million worldwide (opens in new tab)—failed to earn what it needed to break even, it’s not hard to guess why MGM wasn’t tripping over itself to make a sequel.
It also looks like Alicia Vikander, who played Lara Croft in the previous film, isn’t attached to the project going forward. Whatever the next film will be (if there is one) is set to be a “complete reboot” with “no casting or director commitments” according to the insiders The Wrap spoke to.
Honestly, it’s probably all for the best. 2018’s Tomb Raider was a stultifyingly competent piece of work that probably would have been more enjoyable had it been much, much worse (opens in new tab). Instead, what we got was two hours of Vikander leaping about in the jungle in an experience that slipped out of your brain no sooner than it entered it. The only word to describe it is ‘fine’. Say what you like about the irredeemable Angelina Jolie films, I still remember them 20 years later.
Tomb Raider is yet another game property that got sucked into the Embracer Group’s portfolio this May. It may be that the bidding war that’s broken out over the movie rights is spurred partially by the plans Embracer has for the series, which include “remakes, remasters, spinoffs as well as transmedia projects”. It’s difficult to imagine why a gamut of film studios would be throwing money at a licence which has been so quiet for 4 years if they didn’t think Embracer was about to breathe some life back into it.
There’s not been much news on Tomb Raider in recent years, but Crystal Dynamics did break cover in April to announce a new game (opens in new tab) in development on Unreal Engine 5. Of course, that was right before it got picked up by Embracer, so those plans may have changed. Embracer does say it wants to produce a whole lot of Tomb Raider stuff (opens in new tab), though, so there’s every chance that work is quietly trucking along.