Tomb Raider 2 is officially a go. MGM has set a release date for the sequel and has firmed up the creative team that will bring the iconic video game character back to the big screen. Alicia Vikander, who portrayed Lara Croft in the 2018 movie, is returning to reprise her role. Plot details are currently being kept under wraps, but the indication is that the studio may be heading in a different direction with this one, given who they've brought in behind the camera.

According to a new report, director Ben Wheatley has signed on to helm Tomb Raider 2. Wheatley is known for his indie efforts such as Kill List, High-Rise and Free Fire. Wheatley has also helmed episodes of TV shows such as Doctor Who and The Wrong Door. Amy Jump, who has worked with Wheatley several times in the past, is set to pen the screenplay. Back in April, it was reported that MGM was developing a sequel and Jump's name was initially mentioned at that time. But the studio hadn't yet firmed up a release date. Now, they've planted a flag on March 19, 2021. So this is happening.

Plot details are currently being kept under wraps. The previous movie was more or less an origin story that hewed closely to the most recent iteration of the video game series. Unfortunately, it failed to connect with critics and audiences on a broad level. 2018's Tomb Raider currently holds just a 52 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go with a 55 percent audience rating. One might call that a lukewarm response.

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That said, it was far from a disaster at the box office. The movie grossed $274 million globally, working from a $94 million budget. That's far from a bomb, though not quite a massive hit. With that in mind, it makes sense to move forward with a sequel, especially with an Oscar-winner such as Alicia Vikander in the lead willing to return. But it also makes sense not to bring back director Roar Uthaug, as it's clear his vision for the franchise didn't quite line up with what audiences were hoping to see. Wheatley, who has a very snappy quality to his work, which is often coupled with very unique action and distinct visuals, has a notably different style.

This isn't the first time the video game series has been adapted. Angelina Jolie starred in a pair of Tomb Raider movies in the early 2000s. The first entry was almost identically successful the 2018 effort, bringing in $274 million, but 2003's The Cradle of Life took a steep dive, grossing just $156 million. And so, the franchise sat for 15 years collecting dust. But video game movies have taken big steps forward in recent years and this certainly has a chance to build on the foundation that has been laid down. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on Tomb Raider 2 are made available. This news comes to us via Deadline.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott