Lara Croft in limbo as MGM loses Tomb Raider movie rights

Lara Croft in limbo as MGM loses Tomb Raider movie rights

James Bond studio MGM has lost the film rights to the Tomb Raider franchise, leaving Lara Croft in search of a new big screen home.

The Wrap was the first to report that MGM had until May 2022 to approve a follow-up to the 2018 Tomb Raider film starring Alicia Vikander, but that deadline was missed. A “feeding frenzy” of competing studios are currently vying for the IP, according to a source who spoke to THR.

The popular video game franchise’s film rights were acquired by MGM, which was recently acquired by Amazon, from GK Films back in 2013. GK Films had already made a deal with Tomb Raider publisher Square Enix two years prior. The disputed rights have now returned to GK Films, where they are apparently the object of a fierce bidding conflict.

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Despite the fact that a Tomb Raider sequel was initially planned with Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green attached to write and direct, it is anticipated that Vikander’s iconic action heroine character will be replaced in any upcoming film endeavors.

Prior to joining the James Bond stable at MGM, the Tomb Raider brand had seen some resemblance of success on the big screen at Top Gun parent studio Paramount, which released two Angelina Jolie-starring films in 2001 and 2003, respectively, titled Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. In total, the movies made $432 million around the world.

Interestingly, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Tomb Raider (2018) both earned $274.7 million at the worldwide box office, albeit the former actually did better when adjusted for inflation.

Analysis: a big loss for MGM and Amazon

Tomb Raider has never been a true Hollywood money maker, at least not in the same sense that the Mission: Impossible and James Bond series have been for their respective proprietors. But the ownership of significant intellectual property (IP) has become more crucial than ever for drawing and retaining increasingly discerning audiences in today’s absurdly competitive entertainment business.

Tomb Raider is and will continue to be a well-known name in mainstream culture, and because MGM has lagged behind Winston in Croft Manor in terms of producing and approving films under the franchise banner, the Amazon-owned studio has lost a significant advantage.

Furthermore, a competitor studio will soon benefit from MGM’s tardiness. Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate, and other studios will undoubtedly participate in the aforementioned “feeding frenzy,” and Netflix, a notorious project vulture, may also be eager to introduce Lara Croft to new viewers.

Fans of the franchise may be confident that, regardless of where the renowned English explorer ends up, we’ll probably see a lot more Tomb Raider in the coming five years than we have in the previous ten.

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