Once upon a time, Rockstar Games had the opportunity to adapt Grand Theft Auto into a Hollywood movie, with Eminem and Top Gun director Tony Scott on board. Sam and Dan Houser, ever mavericks, turned down the offer.
Given how much bigger the GTA franchise is right now compared to the rest of the cinematic universe, we may never see a movie based on the series.
According to video game industry veteran Kirk Ewing, a Los Angeles-based producer approached Sam and Dan about buying the rights to a Grand Theft Auto movie for $5 million. Apparently, Sam and Ewing discussed a possible Grand Theft Auto 3 adaptation in 2001 as a live-action or tie-in movie. But when Rockstar Games got the offer, the brothers said they were “not interested” after realizing “they had a media franchise that was bigger than any movie that was in theaters at the time.”
And, well, they’re right.
It took Rockstar a while, but the Housers finally realized their original vision. The latest entry in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, came out in 2013. GTA V ended up being the fastest-selling entertainment release of all time, hitting one billion sales in three days. For comparison, the fastest movie ever made was 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which took five days. GTA 5 remains by far the most profitable entertainment game of all time.
Nearly a decade after its release, GTA 5 still generates billions of dollars in annual revenue for Rockstar and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive.
A year later, Eminem debuted in “8 Mile”.
Financially, there’s no reason for Rockstar to shift its focus to movies. If anything, Rockstar has set the bar too high for itself. With the shadow of GTA V hanging over its successor, GTA fans are wondering if Rockstar is feeling the pinch. The recent GTA 6 leaks didn’t help allay concerns either. Thankfully, Take-Two seems confident that work on GTA 6 is on schedule. The company’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, even claimed that GTA 6 would surpass GTA 5, so they didn’t want more confidence.
Ultimately, if Rockstar agrees to the proposal, things will go smoothly for all parties involved. Still, you can’t deny that there’s a lingering feeling that whatever the expected controversy, the GTA movies of the time were going to do just fine.
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