Tomb Raider (film)

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Tomb Raider
A close-up shot of a gritty-looking Lara Croft is seen with the film's title, her actress' name and company logos on the bottom.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoar Uthaug
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onTomb Raider
by Crystal Dynamics
Produced byGraham King
CinematographyGeorge Richmond
Edited by
Music byTom Holkenborg
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release dates
  • March 2, 2018 (2018-03-02) (Berlin)[2][3]
  • March 14, 2018 (2018-03-14) (United Kingdom)
  • March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[4]
  • United Kingdom[5]
  • United States[5]
Budget$90–106 million[6]
Box office$274.7 million[7]

Tomb Raider is a 2018 action-adventure film directed by Roar Uthaug, with a screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, from a story by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dworet. An American and British co-production, it is based on the 2013 video game of the same name, with some elements of its sequel by Crystal Dynamics, a reboot, and the third installment in the Tomb Raider film series. The film stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, who embarks on a perilous journey to her father's last-known destination, hoping to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristin Scott Thomas appear in supporting roles.

Principal photography lasted from January to June 2017 and took place at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire, England, and Cape Town, South Africa. The film was also shot on location across London, particularly East London. The first Tomb Raider film not to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was released in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2018, and in the United States on March 16, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures, in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, IMAX, and 4DX.[8] The film grossed $274 million worldwide, the same as the 2001 film of the same name and more than its 2003 sequel, although it needed to gross at least $275 million to break even.[9]

Tomb Raider received mixed reviews from critics, with some describing the plot as painted "by the numbers", and others praising the action sequences, tone, grittiness, and realistic take on the franchise. Vikander's performance and the characterization of Croft drew a polarized response; some described her as a "capable, powerful, and unobjectified heroine", while others called her bland, and a "punching bag and onlooker."[10] A sequel was initially in development with Vikander set to reprise her role, but was cancelled in 2022 after MGM's film rights to the Tomb Raider series expired.[11]


Following the disappearance of her father, Lord Richard Croft, Lara Croft makes a living as a bike courier. She is arrested after a collision with a police car. Richard's business partner Ana Miller posts her bail and urges Lara to accept her inheritance. Lara believes her father to still be alive, but Miller warns Lara that if she does not claim her inheritance, the family estate, Croft Manor, will be sold off. Lara reluctantly accepts and gains access to a secret chamber in her father's tomb, where she finds a pre-recorded video message from Richard detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard warns Lara to destroy his research, but she ignores his warnings and investigates further.

Not yet having received her inheritance Lara is forced to pawn the jade pendant her father gave her. With the money Lara travels to Hong Kong where she hires Lu Ren, captain of the ship Endurance, to sail into the Devil's Sea and the island of Yamatai. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara has washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She awakens only to encounter Mathias Vogel, the leader of an expedition to locate Himiko's tomb. The expedition has been funded by a shadowy organization called Trinity, which seeks to harness and weaponize Himiko's power. Mathias takes Lara prisoner, claiming that he killed her father and revealing that he intends to use Richard's research to continue his expedition. He adds Lara and Lu to his slave force. The two of them try to escape, but only Lara succeeds.

After surviving rapids and narrowly avoiding falling over a waterfall with the wreck of a wartime airplane, Lara is forced to kill a Trinity guard after nightfall. She follows a mysterious figure through the jungle and discovers that the figure is her father, who stayed on the island to prevent Trinity from finding Himiko's tomb. After Lara convinces him that she is real and not a figment of his imagination, Richard treats her injuries. Despite his protests, Lara sets off the next morning to steal Mathias' satellite phone. Lara makes contact with Lu, and he, along with the other slaves, stage a distraction that allows Lara to infiltrate the Trinity camp and take the phone. In the ensuing chaos, Lu grabs an assault rifle, provides cover for the escapees, and guns down several Trinity soldiers, while Richard makes his way to Himiko's tomb but is captured by Mathias, who persuades Lara to open the tomb, something she has prepared for since she was a child. At that point, the entrance to the tomb self-destructs and falls away, allowing them to enter the tomb which has not been seen for over two thousand years.

The party navigates a series of booby traps and locates Himiko's sarcophagus. When a Trinity soldier attempts to remove her corpse, he is infected by a highly infectious pathogen that reduces him to an aggressive, necrotic zombie. Lara realizes that Himiko was an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, who chose to entomb herself so that she could not infect others. Mathias concludes that Trinity wants to create a bio-weapon out of her body but he cannot remove Himiko's body and instead settles for cutting off a finger, which he seals in a pouch. In the confusion, Lara and Richard overpower the remaining soldiers, although Mathias escapes and Richard becomes infected. Knowing there is no cure, Richard proposes destroying Himiko's tomb to prevent the disease from spreading across the world. Lara pursues Mathias as Richard sets off a bomb, killing himself and sealing the tomb. Lara confronts and kills Mathias by kicking him off a ledge after a fight. She barely escapes the tomb as it collapses, regrouping with Lu and the slaves; they commandeer a Trinity helicopter to escape Yamatai.

Lara returns to London, where she formally accepts her inheritance and inadvertently discovers that Trinity's front company, Patna, is a subsidiary of Croft Holdings. She investigates further and suspects Ana is an agent of Trinity and manipulated her into accepting her inheritance to take control of Croft Holdings' business operations when Richard stopped cooperating with Trinity. Having witnessed Trinity's ruthlessness firsthand, she prepares for her next adventure. Later, Lara returns to Alan's pawnshop to buy back her pendant and also purchases two-identical guns.


Additionally, Antonio Aakeel plays Lara's friend Nitin. Duncan Airlie James plays Terry, a mixed martial arts club operator. Josef Altin portrays Lara's boss Bruce, Billy Postlethwaite and Roger Nsengiyumva appear as Bill and Rog, Lara's co-workers and opponents at the race, and Michael Obiora portrays Baxter, the Croft Holdings' receptionist.



GK Films first acquired the rights to make the film in 2011.[12] Norwegian director Roar Uthaug came on board in November 2015,[13] and Alicia Vikander was cast as the new Lara Croft in April 2016.[14] Deadline Hollywood had previously reported that Daisy Ridley was considered for the role,[15] but Ridley later described it as "the craziest rumor [she had] ever heard about [her]self".[16] Walton Goggins was announced to play the villain in December 2016,[17][18][19] and much of the rest of the cast was revealed in early 2017.[20][21][22]


Principal photography began on January 23, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa, and wrapped on June 9, 2017, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire, England.[23][24][25][26] Wilton House near Salisbury in Wiltshire was the location for exterior shots for Croft Manor.[27] The waterfall sequence involving the plane was filmed at a waterpark at Lee Valley, outside London, at a venue that had been built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and was combined with footage filmed in South Africa.[28]

Visual effects[edit]

The visual effects are provided by Scanline VFX and supervised by Nick Crew and Paul Linden with the help of Method Studios, Rising Sun Pictures, Mr. X, Soho VFX, Zero VFX, and Factory VFX.[29]


On June 14, 2017, It was announced that Junkie XL signed on as the film's composer after being removed from Justice League.[30] The soundtrack was released digitally on March 9, 2018, by Sony Classical Records, with the physical edition being released on March 16, 2018, followed by the vinyl on August 24, 2018.


Tomb Raider premiered on March 2, 2018, in Berlin, Germany, at an exclusive preview with guests and cosplaying fans.[2][3] It was released in the United States on March 16, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures.[31] The film received an IMAX 3D and a RealD 3D release.[32] It also received a 4DX release in selected countries.[8]

Outside the US, the film was released in most territories between March 8–16, 2018, in Japan on March 21, 2018, and in Poland on April 6, 2018.


To promote the release of the film, Mattel released a promotional Barbie doll based on Lara Croft to tie in with the release. The doll is sculpted in the likeness of Alicia Vikander and features full articulation and a doll stand. The doll was designed by veteran doll designer Bill Greening as a Black Label Collector doll and released on February 19, 2018.[33]

Home media[edit]

Tomb Raider was released on digital streaming platforms on May 29, 2018.[34] A 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD release occurred on June 12, 2018. It was released in Australia on June 18, 2018, for Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD.[35]


Box office[edit]

Tomb Raider grossed $58.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $216.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $274.7 million, against a production budget in the range of $90–106 million.[7][6] To break even, estimations say the film needed to gross at least $275 million worldwide.[9] According to MGM's 2020 Q2 earning reports, Tomb Raider is producing net revenue for the studio.[36]

In the United States and Canada, Tomb Raider was released alongside Love, Simon and I Can Only Imagine, and was projected to gross $23–29 million from 3,854 theaters in its opening weekend.[37] The film made $9.1 million on its first day (including $2.1 million from Thursday night previews).[6] It went on to open to $23.5 million, finishing second at the box office, behind Black Panther ($27 million in its fifth week).[9] It fell 55% to $10.6 million in its second weekend, finishing 5th at the box office.[38] It grossed $4.9 million in its third weekend, falling 51% and finishing seventh.[39]

Internationally, the film opened in nine Asian countries a week before its United States debut. It made $14.2 million over the weekend, with Korea's $2.9 million being the biggest market.[40] The film opened in China on March 16, 2018, and made $12.3 million the first day. It was the fifth-highest-grossing day for a Warner Bros. film, opening 6% higher than Wonder Woman, and went on to debut to $41 million.[41] As of April 28, 2018, the film's largest markets were China ($78.4 million), the United Kingdom ($10.4 million), France ($10.1 million), and the CIS countries ($7.5 million).[42]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 52% based on 324 reviews and an average rating of 5.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Tomb Raider reboots the franchise with a more grounded approach and a star who's more than up to the task—neither of which are well served by an uninspired origin story."[43] At the time of its release, it was the best-reviewed movie based on a video game on the site.[44] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[45] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, the same score earned by the 2001 film; PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 70% positive score.[6]

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2 out of 4 stars and said, "The Lara Croft reboot Tomb Raider isn’t half bad for an hour. Then there’s another hour. That hour is quite bad. It’s no fun watching your action heroine get shoved, punched, and kicked to the sidelines of her movie, while the menfolk take over and take turns overacting before expiring."[46] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review, criticizing the story but praising Vikander, and writing, "When all the one-dimensional supporting characters and familiar action moves fall by the wayside, the one thing left standing is Vikander...The film strains credulity even for a vid-game fantasy by letting the leading lady recover quickly from bad injuries, but other than that Vikander commands attention and is the element here that makes Tomb Raider sort of watchable."[47] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it 2 out of 5 and wrote: "Throughout Vikander maintains a kind of serene evenness of manner. Blandness is Lara’s theme."[48]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety praised the film, saying that "The exciting surprise of the new Tomb Raider, directed by the Norwegian genre specialist Roar Uthaug, is that it doesn’t tamp down Vikander’s inner flame, or the three-dimensionality of her talent; it doesn’t fold and insert her into an overly gymnastic and CGI-happy thrill ride. The movie is full of vine-swinging, bow-and-arrow-shooting, ancient-spirit-meeting action, but most of it is staged on a convincing human scale, one that’s been expertly tailored to its star’s understated directness."[49] Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, and said, "this is a beautifully crafted and unpretentious piece of action cinema, with several sequences that are as gorgeous as they are thrilling, and a female hero who's as elegant as she is deadly: an ass-kicking Audrey Hepburn."[50] IndieWire's Anne Thompson wrote that Tomb Raider "was a well-mounted, intelligently wrought adventure, more grounded in the real world than its fantasy predecessors" and that "it establishes the action bonafides of both Vikander and director Roar Uthaug".[51]


At the 2018 Teen Choice Awards, the film received nominations for "Choice Action Movie" and Alicia Vikander as "Choice Action Movie Actress," but lost both to Avengers: Infinity War and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War, respectively.[52]

Canceled sequel[edit]

In 2015, Adrian Askarieh, producer of the Hitman films, stated that he hoped to oversee a shared universe of Square Enix films with Just Cause, Hitman, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief, but admitted that he does not have the rights to Tomb Raider.[53]

Before the release of the first film, Alicia Vikander expressed interest in returning as Lara Croft for a second film, stating that "If there's an audience out there for it, then I would love to".[54] In April 2019, Amy Jump was hired to write a script for a possible sequel, with Vikander attached.[55] In September 2019, Ben Wheatley, Jump's husband, signed on to direct the sequel, with a planned March 19, 2021 release date, with Warner Bros. Pictures dropping out of the project.[56] It was announced that filming would start in early 2020 in England.[57]

According to Geek Vibes Nation, principal photography was scheduled to start in April with filming taking place across several countries including England, South Africa, Finland, and China, and looking to deliver a faithful adaptation of the games' story.[58] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production was delayed, with filming due to take place in England and South Africa;[59] and the film was removed from the studio's release schedule.[60]

In January 2021, Misha Green signed to replace Jump and Wheatley respectively as writer and director. The film was going to be released theatrically in the U.S. via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s distribution and marketing joint venture United Artists Releasing, and internationally through Warner Bros. Pictures.[61]

In May 2021, Misha Green confirmed via her official Twitter account that the first draft of the script, with the working title Tomb Raider: Obsidian, had been completed.[62][63] In July of the same year, Vikander told Collider that the sequel is still happening but has not been greenlit yet.[64][65] In September that year, Green responded to a fan question about the status of the film on her Twitter account, indicating that she was still set to direct her own script.[66]

In July 2022, it was reported that MGM had lost the film rights to the Tomb Raider franchise, after the window ran out to give the sequel the green light, culminating in Vikander's departure from the lead role. The rights reverted to the game company and prompted a bidding war among studios.[11]


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External links[edit]