The first episode of The Last of Us enjoyed extremely healthy viewer figures in the United States, it’s been reported.
The debut episode gained an audience of 4.7 million viewers across pay TV channel HBO and its streaming service HBO Max combined, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery has announced.
According to Warner, this makes it the second-largest debut for HBO, behind only House of Dragon, since Boardwalk Empire premiered with 4.81 million viewers back in 2010.
House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones spin-off which started last year, drew 9.986 million viewers, the largest audience for any new original series in the history of paid cable channels.
“Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as big an audience as we could,” executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann said in a statement.
“We are overjoyed to see how many fans, both old and new, have welcomed ‘The Last of Us’ into their homes and their hearts.”
HBO chairman and CEO Casey Bloys added: “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.”
Based on Naughty Dog’s hit PlayStation series, the adaptation stars Pedro Pascal as smuggler Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who might hold the cure to a deadly parasitic virus that has swept the globe.
Over the course of nine episodes, the show’s debut season will cover the events of The Last of Us, which was released at the tail end of the PS3 generation in 2013, and its downloadable expansion The Last of Us: Left Behind, which arrived the following year.
The first episode aired on Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO Max in the US, and simultaneously on Monday morning at 2am on Sky Atlantic in the UK.