MGM loses Tomb Raider movie license, sequel to 2018 film cancelled

Posted on July 30, 2022

MGM has lost the Tomb Raider movie license after it has failed to greenlight a sequel in time to its 2018 live-action reboot starring Alicia Vikander. Several studios are now bidding for the rights, and any new films will likely be in a new continuity.

According to The Wrap, MGM had until May of this year to commence production on a follow-up to the 2018 film. A Tomb Raider sequel had been stuck in development hell for some time. At one point Free Fire director Ben Wheatley signed on to helm the film for a March 2021 release date. Eventually Wheatley left the project, and Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Collins took over as director and screenwriter on the film. Unfortunately, MGM holding onto the film license was contingent on the movie entering production by May 2022. As the project failed to take off by then, it seems any plans for a direct Tomb Raider sequel have been dashed.

The lack of urgency behind the film’s production is maybe not surprising considering the 2018 film was only marginally profitable at best. Reviews tended to be mixed, even while they praised Vikander’s performance as Lara Croft. The global pandemic also made the logistics of filming a globe-trotting action-adventure movie understandably challenging.

Earlier this year, Embracer Group, the new owners of the Tomb Raider IP, advised that they were excited by the potential of future “transmedia projects” featuring Tomb Raider and other recent acquisitions. As such, this is probably not the last time a movie studio will try and turn Tomb Raider into a successful movie franchise. An animated Netflix series, starring Agent Carter star Hayley Atwell, is currently in development. It will remain to see seen what the future of Tomb Raider will be on the big screen.