A movie or series based on Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, centered around Arthur, Trevor or Nico – that would be it! Now publisher Take Two is speaking out about these options for the first time.
This is what it’s all about: Rockstar Games outdoes itself again and again with their currently biggest IPs “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption”. So it’s clear that many fans would also like to see this as a movie or TV format. In a recent earnings call for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024, publisher Take Two Interactive commented on possible adaptations of GTA and Red Dead as a movie or series.
Is Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption Coming as a Movie or Series?
Currently, the publisher has no plans to make a film or series about Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto (GTA). According to the publisher, the main obstacles are possible financial failure and too small profit margins on the cinema or TV market.
Nevertheless, the publisher leaves a loophole open. What that is and why a GTA or Red Dead Redemption movie/series is not a good idea financially, you will learn in the rest of the article.
This was communicated: After the earnings call on 08 August 2023, those responsible at Take Two still granted some questions. A participant of the conference had asked here, how it would stand around cross media. More precisely, whether there were plans or ideas for a possible film or series adaptation of Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption for the two largest IPs of the publisher of Rockstar Games.
Here, the publisher resolutely denied, citing the uncertain movie market as one of the reasons. Many games have already had their chance on the big screen and failed miserably. Those responsible also said verbatim:
It’s a tough business (…) it’s not worth the risk.
This refers to the discrepancy between the potential box-office takings and the flop, and the resulting damage to the IP’s reputation.
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A Movie or Series for GTA or Red Dead is Simply not Worth it!
As publisher Take Two answered during the Q&A, the risk of a flop doesn’t outweigh the potential profit margin. As usual: “It’s not worth it.” But what does the publisher mean by that?
Let’s take a look at the sales figures and profit totals that Rockstar Games (Take Two) has brought in so far with GTA 5 (+Online) and Red Dead Redemption:
- GTA 5 has sold over 185 million copies (via wikipedia)
- In total, GTA 5 and GTA Online grossed about $6.5 billion.
- Red Dead Redemption has sold 50 million copies.
6.5 billion USD and counting is a sum that a motion picture doesn’t necessarily have to beat. But for the publisher, the time and money are simply better invested in game development, because the profits are better here. Let’s put this in perspective:
Movies whose premise and plot are roughly similar to one from GTA would be Wrath of Man or The Heist. On the more expensive end, the production costs are around $40 million. Let’s stay with the movie Wrath of Man:
- Cost: 40 million dollars
- Result: 104 million dollars
- Round 250% profit
GTA 5 in return:
- Cost: $250 million
- Result (2023): 6.5 billion USD
- Profit of 2,500 %
A more similar example. Avatar: Departure to Pandora (via boxofficemojo.com):
- Cost: 237 million USD
- Result: 2.9 billion USD
- Profit of about 1,200%.
So why try when you can make a lot more money doing what you know? The publisher knows his market well, and knows how to make a lot of money here and marketing through the movies or series is not necessary. Grand Theft Auto 5 is already the biggest entertainment product ever. In summary, an adaptation of GTA or RDR as a movie & series fails because of these aspects:
- The profit margin is too small
- The risk of a flop is too great.
- The marketing potential is hardly available.
- Money is better invested in known areas.
However, even if our coverage was now very related to the financial aspect, there is still a spark of hope. Because in addition to the many denials for a movie or series on Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto, there is also the following news:
So the publisher said during the earnings call that should a favorable opportunity arise, they would definitely think about commissioning a movie/series adaptation.
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