The series premiere of the amazing new zombie series, The Last of Us, drew 4.7 million viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms on Sunday night in the U.S., based on Nielsen and first-party data.
This is HBO’s second-largest debut, behind only House of the Dragon, since Boardwalk Empire premiered on the network in 2010, before HBO programming was broadly available on a streaming app. Sunday night’s performance was nearly double the season two debut night for Euphoria, which went on to average 19.5 million viewers per episode in the U.S. Sunday night viewership for an HBO series typically represents 20%-40% of the show’s total gross audience per episode.
The Last of Us was also a hit on social media, with the series trending #1 both in the U.S. and worldwide on Twitter Sunday night. To date, season one teasers and trailers have amassed more than 100 million views globally. Additionally, the first episode of the series’ companion podcast hit #1 on Apple’s TV & Film chart in the U.S. within 24 hours of its release.
“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. “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.”
“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.”
With a 99% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, The Last of Us has been declared “HBO’s next big hit” by Rolling Stone, with Variety noting, “one sees the near future in which the show winds up among television’s best.”
IndieWire declared the new series “better than every video game adaptation that comes to mind,” with IGN hailing it as “a brilliant retelling of one of video games’ most beloved stories” and adding that it “delivers an enriching show for fans of the PlayStation hit, while also managing to stay welcomingly thrilling to newcomers.” CNN called the storytelling “absolutely fearless and unflinching, creating horrifying scenarios and moments that can be alternately touching and utterly tragic.”
The Reel 360 News Team absolutely loved the premiere. It’s everything The Walking Dead should have been.
New episodes of The Last of Us debut each Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max, leading up to the finale on March 12.
Fans can also tune in to The Last of Us Podcast, the series’ official companion podcast where host Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the video game, sits down with series creators Craig Mazin (Emmy-winning creator of HBO’s Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann, the creator of the acclaimed video game, for a scene-by-scene deep dive of each episode.
A new spotlight page for The Last of Us is now live on HBO Max, featuring behind-the-scenes content and access to the companion podcast, as well as an interactive flashlight to help fans find their next series to watch. The spotlight page also showcases a curated selection of movies and series from 2003, the year the life-altering outbreak occurred in the new HBO series.
The Last of Us, based on the critically acclaimed video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog exclusively for the PlayStation platforms, is written and executive produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann.
The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television and is executive produced by Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam. Production companies: PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog.