“The chances of my being disappointed by Tomb Raider are highly unlikely and even if it goes by way of 2008’s Max Payne or 2016’s Assassin’s Creed (which starred Vikander’s husband, Michael Fassbender), I’m probably still going to see it six times in theaters.”
Two months ago, MGM and Warner Bros. gave us our very first look at their upcoming Tomb Raider reboot film with an official trailer and “Becoming Lara Croft” featurette. Two months since then I’ve seen Blade Runner 2049 (a Warner Bros. release) and Thor: Ragnarok in theaters and have not seen the Tomb Raider trailer play once, nor have I even seen the theatrical one-sheet adorning any movie theater wall. Calling into question the marketing for this film, is the new Tomb Raider film destined to be buried with all the other video game adaptation films to have come before?
There’s no secret about my fandom of the “Tomb Raider” video games, along with my love of the Angelina Jolie films, and my excitement for Alicia Vikander’s 2018 film, directed by Roar Uthaug. The chances of my being disappointed by this film are highly unlikely and even if it goes by way of 2008’s Max Payne or 2016’s Assassin’s Creed (which starred Vikander’s husband, Michael Fassbender), I’m probably still going to see it six times in theaters. However, with all the video game adaptations that have released, “Tomb Raider” is certainly a little more special than let’s say Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead adaptation, with a built in fan base that keeps it just as strong as the “Resident Evil” titles. And just look at the Resident Evil movie series! There were six films made over nearly 15 years! The films made Milla Jovovich a bonafide action star with a series of films that would tie the same amount of of Rocky films, Mission: Impossible movies, and surpass the amount of times Bruce Willis played John McClane, Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, and Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley!
If it’s a matter of audiences being ready for a female led action movie, there is no question that they are. While we have two Star Wars episode films and one anthology film being led by a woman, we also have this summer’s biggest hit – Wonder Woman, along with the upcoming Marvel films, Ant-Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel on their way. Tomb Raider could not be opening at a better time, post Wonder Woman and Star Wars, and right before Ant-Man and The Wasp. There aren’t any major female led adventure movies opening, nor really any adventure movies at all. Approaching it’s 25th year anniversary in a few years, 2018 could be the year of the Tomb Raider; the year of Lara Croft!
While I don’t have a professional background in movie marketing, I was a part of The Mummy‘s (which you could find on Universal Monsters Universe) and I must offer my critique of the marketing plan for Tomb Raider up to now. It started off exciting and strong – with a live debut of the trailer across IGN and The Late Late Show with James Corden, and a live interview with Alicia Vikander on IGN, and an appearance on The Late Late Show. This followed the release of the first theatrical one-sheet, which sparked a lot of talk about Alicia Vikander’s ripped physique – a first for an on-screen portrayal of Lara Croft. There was talk and there was buzz with Variety’s “‘Tomb Raider’ Fights To Top Of Social Media Charts,” New York Times’ “‘Tomb Raider’ Aims To Mint a New Action Star,” and MTV’s “Stop What You’re Doing and Look At Alicia Vikander’s Muscles.”
But then, about a week or two after the initial buzz stopped, so did everything else on the Tomb Raider front. And yes, two months ago we were still a half a year out from the March 2018 release of Tomb Raider, but now we’re four months away. Aside from audiences who follow online trailer/poster releases, does the general movie going public know about the new Tomb Raider film? Should they have any reason to? Blade Runner 2049 would have just made sense having a trailer attached and would have given Warner Bros. and MGM a good five months to start getting audiences ready, and a well placed poster in the theaters? Well, use the right #hashtag and just start checking Instagram! With Justice League, a WB film, opening this month on the 17th, WB needs to have a Tomb Raider trailer attached to regular 35mm prints and IMAX. Both films are being given releases in the same formats so why not? And while every fan of Justice League almost certainly knows about the upcoming Tomb Raider film just as sure as they know that Henry Cavill’s Superman will be in the film, almost everyone and their grandmothers will be seeing Justice League. It’s another cinematic history making moment in just the same way Avengers was in 2012. The reach this film will have should be nothing short of dynamic, even if it fails to live up to the expectations. The awareness of Tomb Raider post a viewing of Justice League, along with a glance at the poster, will have people talking. Good or bad, people will be talking.
And if the Tomb Raider trailer or poster isn’t present in theaters for Justice League season, this will be me looking for the trailer and poster every day until March 16, 2018
I’d like to see Tomb Raider succeed. I’d like to see Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft across three films, at least. Give us, at least, one more than Angelina Jolie. It could very well happen. The Tomb Raider movies aren’t terribly big shoots when looked at alongside productions like 2018’s Avengers: Infinity Wars. Director Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider was in principal photography across five months and while the budget has not been released at this time, it surely wasn’t as costly as, let’s say The Mummy. With a few tie-ins, some merchandise, and a solid trailer playing in theaters, Tomb Raider could perform very well. Regardless of everything else, people will be talking about Alicia Vikander, even if it is just about her muscles!
The film follows Lara Croft as she sets out on her first expedition to finish her father’s (Dominic West) research and uncover ancient secrets in order to clear his disgraced name.
MGM and Warner Bros. are co-producing the film, with MGM overseeing production. The studios acquired the rights from GK Films, which had previously purchased the film rights in 2011 from Square Enix Ltd. Graham King is producing.
Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Dominic West. The film is directed by Roar Uthaug, from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Tomb Raider opens March 16, 2018.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)