Sunday night’s season finale of “The Last of Us” drew series-high viewership for HBO Max, despite stiff competition from the Oscars.
The post-apocalyptic drama, based on the popular videogame, recorded 8.2 million online and cable viewers Sunday, HBO said Monday, citing Nielsen data. That was a series-best, and an increase of more than 75% from the 4.7 million who tuned into the season premiere on Jan. 15.
Sunday’s finale was up against the 95th annual Academy Awards on ABC, which drew 18.7 million viewers, up 12% from 2022, but still significantly lower than past years; the Oscars drew 43.7 million viewers in 2014, for example.
For the series’ fifth episode last month, HBO moved “The Last of Us” from a Sunday-night release to a Friday release so as not to compete against the Super Bowl; it drew 11.6 million viewers over that weekend.
The series stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as survivors navigating a violent and dangerous landscape following a fungal pandemic that wiped out much of humanity.
Also read: ‘The Last of Us’ in real life? Rising temperatures may be spreading fungal infections, research says
HBO Max said “The Last of Us” is averaging 30.4 million total viewers across its first six episodes (Sunday was its ninth), while its premiere episode is nearing 40 million views in the U.S.
Though falling shy of U.S. viewership highs hit by the “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” last fall, HBO Max said “The Last of Us” was the service’s most-watched show ever in Europe and Latin America. HBO Max launched in May 2020.
In January, HBO Max raised the subscription price for its ad-free tier by $1, to $15.99 a month. Shares of HBO parent Warner Bros. Discovery
are up 48% year to date, though are still down 41% over the past 12 months. In comparison, the S&P 500
is up 0.4% in 2023, and down 7.6% over the past year.