Tomb Raider to be rebooted (again) with new Lara Croft, reports say

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (2018)
(Image credit: MGM / Warner Bros.)

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.

As first reported by The Wrap, MGM had until May 2022 to sign off on a sequel to its 2018 Tomb Raider movie starring Alicia Vikander, but failed to meet the deadline in time. Multiple rival studios are now in the hunt to take over the IP, with one insider describing the situation to THR as a “feeding frenzy.”

MGM, which was recently acquired by Amazon, purchased the film rights to the popular video game franchise from GK Films back in 2013, which had itself struck a deal with Tomb Raider publisher Square Enix two years prior. The rights in question have now landed back at GK films, where they are reportedly the subject of an intense bidding war. 

Although a sequel to 2018’s Tomb Raider was in early development – Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green had been attached to write and direct – Vikander’s role as the iconic action heroine is expected to be recast in a "complete reboot" of the series, according to The Wrap. 

Prior to becoming a James Bond stablemate at MGM, the Tomb Raider brand had enjoyed some relative big screen success at Top Gun parent studio Paramount, which released two Angelina Jolie-led movies – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – in 2001 and 2003, respectively. The films raked in a combined $432 million worldwide.

Incidentally, both Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Tomb Raider (2018) took the same $274.7 million total at the global box office – though, adjusted for inflation, the former technically performed better. 

Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (2018) (Image credit: MGM / Warner Bros.)

Analysis: a big loss for MGM and Amazon 

As above, Tomb Raider has never been a bona fide Hollywood money-spinner – at least in the same way as the James Bond and Mission: Impossible franchises have for their respective owners. But in today’s ludicrously competitive entertainment industry, the ownership of major intellectual property (IP) has become more important than ever for attracting and keeping increasingly prudent audiences. 

Tomb Raider is and will remain a prominent name in popular culture, and as a result of MGM moving slower than Winston in Croft Manor – both in terms of releasing and green-lighting movies under the franchise banner – the Amazon-owned studio has lost an important feather in its cap. 

What’s more, MGM’s tardiness will soon become a rival studio’s gain. The likes of Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. are sure to be involved in the aforementioned “feeding frenzy”, while streaming services like Netflix – ever the doomed project vulture – may also be keen to bring Lara Croft to new audiences. 

Wherever the famed English adventurer ends up, though, franchise fans can rest assured that, in all likelihood, we’ll be seeing a whole lot more Tomb Raider in the next five years than we have in the previous 10. 

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.