The next Tomb Raider film has fallen apart, and movie studios are at war for the rights

MGM has lost the rights to make Tomb Raider movies after a planned sequel to the 2018 film collapsed, and multiple Hollywood studios are now embroiled in a bidding war over the license, according to a report by The Wrap. (opens in new tab).

MGM should have formally committed to the sequel in May of this year if it wanted to keep the film rights to Tomb Raider, but it missed the opportunity. Given that rumors suggest that the 2018 Tomb Raider movie – which grossed about $274 million worldwide (opens in new tab)– failed to earn what it took to break even, it’s not hard to guess why MGM didn’t trip over itself to make a sequel.

It also appears that Alicia Vikander, who played Lara Croft in the previous film, is not attached to the project going forward. Whatever the next movie will be (if there is one), according to the insiders The Wrap spoke to, it will be a “complete reboot” with no “casting or director commitment.”

Frankly, it’s probably all for the best. The 2018 Tomb Raider was a mind-bogglingly skilled piece of work that probably would have been more fun if it had been much, much worse (opens in new tab). Instead, we got two hours of Vikander jumping around in the jungle in an experience that slipped out of your brain as soon as it got in. The only word to describe it is ‘fine’. Say what you love about the irredeemable Angelina Jolie movies, I still remember them 20 years later.

Tomb Raider is yet another game feature that was sucked into the Embracer Group’s portfolio in May. It may be that the bidding war that has erupted over the film rights is fueled in part by Embracer’s plans for the series, which include “remakes, remasters, spin-offs, and transmedia projects.” It’s hard to imagine why a whole bunch of movie studios would spend money on a license that’s been quiet for 4 years if they didn’t think Embracer would breathe some life back into it.

There hasn’t been much news about Tomb Raider in recent years, but Crystal Dynamics broke 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 was picked up by Embracer, so those plans may have changed. Embracer does say it wants to produce a lot of Tomb Raider stuff (opens in new tab)but chances are the work is progressing quietly.

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