The Last of Us is officially a viral– er, fungal hit.
HBO’s adaptation of the popular video game franchise on Sunday night premiered to 4.7 million total viewers (across linear and HBO Max platforms in the U.S.), marking the pay cabler’s second-best series launch since Boardwalk Empire drew north of 7 million back in September 2010. (And in this age of streaming/HBO Max, the Sunday night viewership for an HBO series typically represents just 20 to 40 percent of the total gross audience per episode.)
(A little show called House of the Dragon, if you need reminding, arrived last August as HBO’s very best series launch ever, amassing just shy of 10 million viewers with its own premiere night.)
The Last of Us‘ Sunday-night performance was also nearly double Euphoria‘s year-ago Season 2 debut night. TVLine readers gave the series premiere an average grade of “A.”
“We are thrilled to see fans of the series and game alike experience this iconic story in a new way, and we extend our gratitude to them for helping to make it a success,” Casey Bloys, HBO & HBO Max Content Chairman, said in a statement. “Congratulations to [executive producers] Craig [Mazin], Neil [Druckmann] and the brilliant cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring this show to life. We look forward to fans around the world enjoying the rest of the season.”
Mazin and Druckmann added in a joint statement. “Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as big an audience as we could. We are overjoyed to see how many fans, both old and new, have welcomed The Last of Us into their homes and their hearts.”