Can ‘Uncharted’ Hit Blockbuster Status After $51 Million Box Office Opening?

Tom Holland adventure film’s franchise potential may depend on performance before ”The Batman“ takes over theaters

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Sony Pictures’ latest hit “Uncharted” is off to a very good start with a $51 million domestic opening at the box office and $139 million grossed worldwide so far. But with a reported budget of $120 million before marketing, the next 10 days will be what really determines how much of a theatrical hit this tentpole is.

The video game adaptation cleared the first hurdle this past weekend, winning over the young, male audience that turned out for hits like “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and “Jackass Forever” with a movie that eschewed faithfulness to the lore of “Uncharted” Playstation games in favor of being a fun adventure filled with banter between Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg with the games serving merely as the basic framework.

“I think it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen an actor have this much of an impact on the box office,” said Boxoffice editor Daniel Loria. “I didn’t have ‘Uncharted’ making more than $40 million this weekend, but it is topping $50 million while ‘Spider-Man’ is still in the top five. Tom Holland is just drawing in a lot of moviegoers right now.”

The weekend was so successful that Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman has already declared it a “new hit movie franchise for the company.”

“The ensuing impact is proof once again of the unmatched cultural power of real movies,” Rothman wrote in an internal memo obtained by TheWrap and first reported by Deadline. “On the heels of ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage,’ ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife,’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ ‘Uncharted’ is yet another blow to the theatrical naysayers and further proof of the efficacy of our model.”

The next question is whether “Uncharted” can expand interest to a wider audience and whether it will follow in the footsteps of other video game adaptations and build legs internationally. “Uncharted” only has a limited time to do so, as it will have valuable premium format support this coming weekend to boost numbers but will lose those screens — along with likely much of its core demographic — to “The Batman” on March 4.

With no other major tentpoles coming out in March aside from “The Batman,” there may be a chance that “Uncharted” could hold on next month as a lighter big-budget alternative to the dark, brooding return of the Dark Knight, especially if Holland’s performance becomes a key draw. If it does, it could leg out to a domestic run of around $120 million; but if it doesn’t, it could struggle to eke past $100 million.

Either way, overseas revenue is likely to make up at least 60% of the global total for “Uncharted,” which would be consistent with other video game films like “Warcraft” ($47 million domestic/$440 million worldwide), “Tomb Raider” ($58 million dom./$274 million WW) and “Rampage” ($101 million dom./$430 million WW). Such consistent performance overseas is part of the reason why studios have kept making video game adaptations even when they’ve failed to become critical and commercial hits, as there’s enough support globally to keep most films in the genre from becoming bombs.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster