The show, which boasts cast members Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, and Storm Reid, drew 4.7 million viewers on Sunday night.
In what looks to be HBO’s next big hit, The Last of Us drew the platform’s second-largest series debut in 12 years at 4.7 million watchers, trailing only House of the Dragon, which amassed 9.99 million viewers. Following House of the Dragon sat Boardwalk Empire, which premiered in 2010 with 4.81 million viewers before HBO programming was made available on the HBO Max streaming platform.
The video game adaptation series, which is based on the 2013’s The Last of Us game set decades after a global pandemic, also debuted with a 99% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The series is based on the critically acclaimed video game of the same name that Naughty created originally for the Playstation 3 in 2013. Since the game’s release, it has sold over 17 million copies on Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5.
“Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as big an audience as we could,” said executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. “We are overjoyed to see how many fans, both old and new, have welcomed The Last of Us into their homes and their hearts.”
The show’s hype was shown on social media as the debut trended on #1 in the U.S. and worldwide on Twitter Sunday night. Season one teasers and trailers for the show have totaled more than 100 million views globally. Additionally, HBO created a companion podcast and other additional content to help keep the momentum of the show going. The first episode of the podcast hit #1 on Apple TV & Film chart in the U.S.
“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,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO & HBO Max Content in a release. “Congratulations to Craig, Neil 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.”
New episodes of The Last of Us will release every Sunday until March 12, when the series finale releases. Although “The Last of Us” sequel video game “The Last of Us Part II” released in 2020, the series has not yet been renewed for a second season.