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Sony dubs 'Uncharted' a 'hit movie franchise' after opening weekend - is a sequel far behind?
Sony's video game adaptation seems to be pointing the way to a new action franchise.
Last week, after years of development and a few pandemic-driven delays, Uncharted finally arrived in theaters, and it looks like all that waiting led to some treasure. The film pulled in a little more than $50 million domestically across the long Presidents Day weekend, with a worldwide gross of $139 million and counting, topping box office projections in North American by about $20 million and seemingly setting the stage for a sequel.
But it's not just the healthy box office report that has us thinking more big-screen adventures for Nate (Tom Holland) and Sully (Mark Wahlberg) are on the horizon. Sony Motion Pictures Group Chairman Tom Rothman also seems to think so. Deadline reports that, following the film's successful rollout over the weekend, Rothman sent a memo to his employees heralding the film as not just a solid opener, but the start of a franchise.
"With over $100M in box office worldwide in just one weekend, and a 90 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, Uncharted is a new hit movie franchise for the company," Rothman wrote.
"This marks a great victory for every single division of the company, as the film was our first major production entirely shut down by the advent of Covid, yet we persevered to complete a picture the audience loves and marketed and distributed it with strategic verve worldwide, despite the pandemic."
This is, obviously, what Sony's been hoping for since Uncharted entered film development all those years ago. The film's video game source material has already produced several hit sequels' worth of adaptation potential, and the prequel-driven story of the big-screen version means that Sony's barely scratched the surface when it comes to Nathan Drake's potential cinematic future. Plus, Uncharted director Ruben Fleischer already seems game to return for a second installment.
“I can’t help but hope we’ll be doing a sequel,” Fleischer told Deadline's Hero Nation podcast in the days before Rothman's celebratory memo. “I think Sony is appropriately superstitious and they don’t plan things without knowing how they’ll be received.”
Now, with Sony's victory lap underway, and Uncharted's post-credits scene clearly setting up where the next film could head (complete with that missing mustache), a sequel announcement feels imminent, and experts agree.
"With much better-than-expected results over the President’s holiday weekend, Uncharted seemingly cracked the code on video game big screen adaptations, a genre that has historically had mixed results at the box office," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "That success comes down to the pairing of unstoppable young star Tom Holland with a major old school star Mark Wahlberg, and wrapping it up in a perfectly synergistic cinematic package that combines Sony’s PlayStation small screen brand with their Tom Holland powered Spider-Man big screen horsepower. It seems to be a no-brainer to greenlight an Uncharted sequel, given the strong results this past weekend and thus, give the red-hot Holland another movie franchise to call his own."
And of course, Sony has lots of reasons to be confident even beyond Uncharted. In his memo, Rothman also celebrated recent hits like Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the biggest movie of the pandemic era thus far. For Rothman, all that box office glory is "yet another blow to the theatrical naysayers and further proof of the efficacy of our model."
The good news is that theaters are still bringing in big money, provided you're a film with the massive promotional machine to drive people to the seats. Don't be surprised when Uncharted 2 arrives with an even bigger marketing engine driving it in a couple of years.