It’s official: The Last of Us TV show is as infectious as we’ve come to expect it to be.
The hotly anticipated post-apocalyptic drama is the most-watched TV premiere in HBO and HBO Max history, with 4.7 million viewers tuned in to watch it last Sunday (January 15) in the US.
In a press release, HBO revealed that its live-action adaptation of The Last of Us, which stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, drew twice as many viewers as the season 2 opener of Euphoria. The Zendaya-starring drama hit 19.5 million viewers per episode, so The Last of Us’ early performance suggests it could do even better. According to Samba TV, the premiere of The Last of Us had a 62% higher viewership than the second season of The White Lotus.
An excellent start to the show is to be expected. The Last of Us, which is largely based on Naughty Dog’s award-winning video game series of the same name, was met with critical acclaim ahead of its premiere. We mostly praised it in our The Last of Us review, with a score of 99% and 96% based on fresh critics and audience ratings on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. (Opens in a new tab)Everyone agrees how awesome he really is. It won’t surprise anyone, then, that we’ve already added it to our list of the best HBO Max shows.
In a statement released along with the show’s impressive characters, co-showrunners and executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann said, “Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as wide an audience as possible. We were thrilled to see the number of fans, longtime And the new ones, who welcomed “The Last of Us” into their homes and hearts.”
Unfortunately, no data has been provided by non-HBO sources, such as Sky in the UK, so it’s hard to say how popular The Last of Us will be in other regions of the world – but if those numbers are anything like the numbers I collected in the US, The Last of Us may be the biggest TV movie of 2023 yet.
Analysis: Dragon defeats fungus
As impressive as The Last of Us’ performance was, the viewing numbers for the premiere pale in comparison to one of its HBO cousins, House of the Dragon.
The Game of Thrones prequel series drew nearly 10 million viewers when it debuted on HBO Max in August 2022; A massive hit that proved HBO’s live-action take on George R.R. Martin’s literary work isn’t dead yet. House of the Dragon has continued to fly really high in the weeks since, with the fantasy show averaging between nine and 9.5 million subscribers per episode, including the 9.3 million haul at the season one finale.
So The Last of Us has some inclination if it has any hopes of beating the House of the Dragon and wresting its crown from its fiery head – and it’s unlikely to achieve that goal.
why? Despite its divisive final season, Game of Thrones remains an incredibly popular show and franchise. As a prequel to the events that take place in this TV series, House of the Dragon already had a pre-made TV fanbase, which means it’s always likely to attract viewers, even if it ends up being terrible.
The Last of Us can boast a loyal fan base. However, while video games are growing in popularity in mainstream culture, they are not as ingrained in the public consciousness as TV shows. It will take time for The Last of Us series to increase the franchise’s fanbase.
However, if it’s any consolation, Game of Thrones’ premiere episode only drew 2.2 million viewers in the US in April 2011. It’s been beaten by one live-action series, Game of Thrones. If The Last of Us receives more installments – and based on its audience share, it’s named to do so – expect House of the Dragon to give House of the Dragon a decent run for its money in season 2 and beyond.
For more HBO-focused coverage, learn how to watch The Last of Us Episode 2 before it airs in your global region. Plus, read why the showrunners decided to change The Last of Us’ timeline for its TV adaptation, and check out our article ranked for Game of Thrones seasons.