Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg only scored 41% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics, but took in more than $400 million at the box office.
Sony Pictures and game developer, Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), have been teasing fans for well over a decade that one of their biggest properties would make it to the big screen. Well, Uncharted finally got there and the Tom Holland-Mark Wahlberg film has since enjoyed a bumpy ride to box office success. While critical reaction to the film that has Holland playing a young Nathan Drake and Wahlberg his future partner in treasure hunting, Victor “Sully” Sullivan has been less than pleasing, audiences have taken to the film and, in fact, are hoping there may be more to come.
UNCHARTED BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE AND CRITICAL REACTION
Critics have been fairly unkind to the Holland-Wahlberg pairing seeing as the film has only a 41% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans, on the other hand, see this film much differently than their critical counterparts, which comes as no surprise. Uncharted, which also stars Sophia Ali as another popular Uncharted character, Chloe Frazer, and Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle as the big baddies of the film, received a much more favorable audience rating of 90%.
This translated well for the film at the box office. Forbes says the film, which now sits with a total box office haul of $402 million and cost Sony $120 million to make, is now the fourth most successful adaptation of a video game in Hollywood history. The film sits behind the number one video game adaptation, 2016’s Warcraft ($438 million, 2019’s Detective Pikachu ($433 million), and 2018’s Dwayne Johnson hit, Rampage ($428 million).
The Uncharted movie hit movie theaters on February 18, 2022, well ahead of its first trailer release. But the trailer set the stage for the adventure to come, an Uncharted movie that gives many nods to the popular game while adding some things that fans of the game have not seen before. Let’s see how we got from a video game franchise to the movie screen.
UNCHARTED MOVIE TRAILER
Shooting began on the Uncharted movie on July 15, 2020. Star Tom Holland confirmed it by sharing this photo directly from the set.
THE TEAM IN CHARGE OF UNCHARTED RIGHT NOW
After all was said and done (eight different directors, many many writers) Sony settled on Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland movies, Venom) to finally bring the Uncharted movie to life. The story changed tone a few times over the years but Joe Carnahan (Bad Boys For Life, Smokin’ Aces) penned the final version with Rafe Judkins adding to it. Carnahan even took to Instagram upon completion of his draft, boasting. “If there’s a more monstrously cool action script in Hollywood right now, I wanna read it, ‘cuz this thing is a BEAST.” It should be noted that Carnahan never received any writing credits on the film, those went to Judkins, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway.
WHO’S IN THE UNCHARTED MOVIE
The names have changed as this movie has developed, but one name stayed constant pretty much from the jump. That is Mark Wahlberg. He remained attached to the Uncharted movie and was confirmed to star as things move forward with the production. At first, Wahlberg was expected to sign on as Nathan Drake, but as production went further along, it was decided that Wahlberg would take the role of James “Sully” Sullivan, Drake’s mentor.
As previously mentioned, Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard) joined Wahlberg and Holland as Santiago Moncada.
Joining the three big names were Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy, Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare), and Tati Gabrielle (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).
We may never know how much of Carnahan’s Uncharted movie script changed after Holland came aboard and Wahlberg took on the role of Sully. What we do know, with the final version already out there, is that the film became a prequel where Holland’s Drake first meets Sully.
Holland spoke about the Uncharted movie’s origin story script to IGN saying, “I read the newest draft of the script on the way over here and it’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. It really, really jumps off the page.”
His screen partner in crime, Wahlberg, echoed Holland’s sentiments when he spoke with The Wrap. “I’m familiar with the games, but I think this is going to be a nice segue into Nathan becoming Nathan Drake, which I think it will be really cool for audiences. It’s by far tenfold better than all the other versions of the movie that they were going to make at one point or another, which is why I was willing to come back and jump into that part. Many different filmmakers and versions of the script and they just knocked it out of the park. When I read it, I was like, ‘oh wow.’”
Wahlberg didn’t stop there when praising the direction of the new script. “I felt like I was reading a movie and watching a movie, and it felt like Indiana Jones meets ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ meets a Bond movie,” Wahlberg said. “It was like, wow, I’ve made a lot of movies, but I’ve never felt like, this is a movie movie. I just got really excited about it, so I was committed to playing the part.”
Holland was also upfront that the Uncharted movie script leaned heavily on the fourth game in the series, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which happened to be his personal favorite. This is also the only game that goes back in time to show how a young Nathan Drake first met Sully. “One of my favorite video games ever is the fourth Uncharted game. And lots of the inspiration from the film has come from that game in particular.”
UNCHARTED RELEASE DATE WAS FEBRUARY 18, 2022
With the many delays, there have obviously been a few release dates. The Uncharted movie had been scheduled for a March 5, 2021 release. But the Coronavirus ended up delaying a ton of movies, which means that this release date was never hit. There were other dates, like July 16, 2021, but that date also passed without a movie release.
The official release date for the Uncharted movie was February 18, 2022.
THE UNCHARTED MOVIE’S ROCKY ROAD
Ten years is a long time, even by Hollywood standards. But that is how long it has been since Sony and Naughty Dog first announced that they were adapting the Uncharted game into an Uncharted movie.
The video game series is one of the most popular games ever released on the PlayStation console. So how many names have been attached to the project since that initial announcement? Let’s count.
Spider-Man producer (1) Avi Arad was first with screenwriter (2) Kyle Ward tabbed to write the script. Ward dropped out to be replaced by (3) Thomas Dean Donnelly and (4) Joshua Oppenheimer. (5) David O. Russell was then brought on as director. Sony was thrilled with the Donnelly/Oppenheimer script and wanted to fast-track the movie for a summer 2011 release. Shortly after this announcement was another that even though Russell was on board, negotiations between the director and studio had broken down.
Things jumped more for the Uncharted movie as the studio announced once again that Russell was back on board as director. A few days after Russell was confirmed, actor (6) Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) began a Twitter campaign to star as the video games hero Nathan Drake. Fans were in a lather as they felt Fillion was a perfect choice for the role. Unfortunately, Russell wasn’t having any of it. In fact, Russell shot the campaign down by stating he wasn’t even aware of who Fillion was. Fillion and Russell never joined the production.
From there rumors began to fly as to who would join the cast and snag the prime role as Drake. (7) Mark Wahlberg was the first name. More surprising though were the two other names being considered for roles: (8) Robert De Niro and (9) Joe Pesci. They were to be reunited but their roles were never confirmed. Rumor had it that De Niro was possibly going to play Sully while Pesci was going to play an uncle of Nathan Drake. Only Wahlberg remaining with the film remained true of these rumors.
Fans were confused by this even as Russell told the LA Times through Indiewire his idea on the story of an extended Drake family. “This idea really turns me on that there’s a family that’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of international art and antiquities … [a family] that deals with heads of state and heads of museums and metes out justice.” He also added. “We’ll have the family dynamic, which we’ve done in a couple of movies now. And then you take that and put it on the bigger, more muscular stage of an international action picture, but also put all the character stuff in it. That’s a really cool idea to me.”
That “really cool idea” did not pan out for Russell as he moved away from the Uncharted movie to take on other projects. Wahlberg, Di Nero, and Pesci remained attached, so the rumors turned to the leading ladies.
(10) Scarlett Johansson, (11) Amy Adams, and (12) Eva Mendes names were being kicked around. It was for naught though as again Russell and the studio couldn’t agree on the direction of the story. Director (13) Neil Burger (Limitless) came on board wanting to start from scratch. But Burger didn’t last, and new writers were also brought in. Johansson, Adams, and Mendes never joined the production either.
More directors, more writers, more development hell. Our name count is already up to 13 but there were many, many more until the movie settled on the team it has now.