Grand Theft Auto developer has turned down "many" movie offers

"The money's never been close to be worth risking one's crown jewels," says Rockstar Games cofounder on the prospect of a Grand Theft Auto movie.

In a rare interview with the Guardian, Rockstar Games cofounder and vice president of creativity Dan Houser spoke about how the studio has been offered "many times" to create a Grand Theft Auto movie.

"We've been offered, many times, and it's never appealed," said Houser. "The money's never been close to be worth risking one's crown jewels. Our small dabblings with Hollywood have always left us running back to games. The freedom we have to do what we want creatively is of enormous value."

"The second you go near Hollywood, people seem willing, or have been forced, to lose a lot of that control. That sort of amorphous 'that won't test well' attitude is exactly how we don't work. We've always tried to think of stuff that's innovative and new, and to go into a world where that's not encouraged would be horrible."

"There's still plenty of kudos in doing a film, but you shouldn't ever do anything in your life for kudos," added Houser.

"It's much easier to imagine GTA as a TV series, as the form is closer, but I still think we'd be losing too much to ever actually do it. We've got this big open-world experience that's 100 hours long, and that gives players control over what they do, what they see, and how they see it. A world where you can do everything from rob a bank to take a yoga lesson to watch TV, all in your own time. How do you condense that into a two-hour or 12-hour experience where you take away the main things: player agency and freedom?"

"We love games and we think we've got something to say in games, and that games have plenty to say. So shouldn't we just continue doing that?"

Speaking to GameSpot in 2011 to reflect on Grand Theft Auto III, Houser said the developer was trying to "get past" the film industry.

"We didn't make a GTA movie for a reason, and the choice was ours," said Houser at the time. "We probably could have got most people to do it, but we had no interest in doing it. One of the points about GTA was, it was the first time where if you thought about moving it into cinema, you were condensing it, not expanding it. It wasn't like how do you find all the things you put into the film? It was how do you streamline this into a cinematic experience? That's something where we never figured out the answer to the question. It was something that didn't exist in 50 different media. It was a game property, and that was something to cherish and not be embarrassed by."

"But no, we never remotely actively pursued a movie. Because we thought in games we could do something that was maybe limited in lots of ways, but in scope and ambition was beyond movies. Games are trying to, hopefully, aspire to do something that movies can't do. That's what's exciting about them. We're not trying to be like the film industry; we're trying to get past the film industry."

Grand Theft Auto V will be released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 17.

Written By

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Want the latest news about Grand Theft Auto V?

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Discussion

339 comments
DWalker131
DWalker131

for the sake of GTA lovers, no movie please, we see what happens when a game turns into a movie, in no particular order

street fighter the movie,max payne, doom, double dragon, dead or alive, prince of persia, bloodrayne, and mortal kombat (although i thought it was kool, not alotta people liked it)

MariusGta
MariusGta

I love this man and i'm proud he's the co-funder of my favorite game company! He thinks about video games (the serious ones) like I do! I love you Rockstar and I'll buy your games until I'm gonna die :)


gto3440
gto3440

if they wanted to make a gta movie they could have done it all in house

metalblinga
metalblinga

a gta movie wouldn't exactly have a distinctive formula that would differentiate it from the 1000's of gangster movies out there, also considering that the character and story telling has changed drastically over the years. if a gta movie does in fact come out it would be a random average gangster movie with a game title. the video game is what makes the title appealing.

BlazeKingz
BlazeKingz

the problem with hollywood is that they have a formula and they force it upon every franchise. like there has to be a girl who the protaganist falls in love with. doesnt matter if it fits in to the movie or the lore of the fanchise. for example the tekken movie where jin was a pair with christy? like wtf those poeple dont even talk in the game let alone date. And everyone in hollywood tries to get the whole teenage angle. This was a huge reason why dragonball movie was a pile of crap.

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

Hey people, stop posting from Facebook, please. It's a fucking mess trying to make sense of half of your comments.

vivalatour
vivalatour

max payne was okay even if it was not what I expected , maybe there will be a max payne movie taken off of mp3 ? the only ones who would appreciate it would be the people who know what max is all about and it was obvious walburg just went with the lines and not the real story (what a punk) ! hahaha

Robin Maximilian Furthersbe
Robin Maximilian Furthersbe

Yeah, let's take this awesome open world sandbox which essential point is that you can do anything anytime whenever you like it..... ....and turn it into a linear movie where you can do nothing else but watch, making it also effectivley Gangster Movie number 953475869783728459699..... .....these guys in Hollywood, how the eff did they got their jobs?

maximo
maximo

" We're not trying to be like the film industry; we're trying to get past the film industry "

I love their attitude and outlook. real entrepreneurs.




mikkeltiedt
mikkeltiedt

You get far more interesting narratives, when you are playing an active part in the story. GTA the movie would be pointless. Respect to Rockstar for not falling into the same trap as far too many game producers.


NeOmeGamer
NeOmeGamer

/epic sarcasm initiated/ Give that game to Uwe Boll. He would do it justice.

tightwad34
tightwad34

You could also argue that there pretty much has been a movie very similar to GTA. I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but with the thousands upon thousands of movies out there, you know there's gotta be at least a handful of them very close to it.

tightwad34
tightwad34

So you didn't want Hollywood to touch your game because you knew they wouldn't make it the way you wanted. And you know the way Rockstar would want it would be the right way. Not to mention they didn't just sell out to make some cash at the expense of possibly shaming their franchise.  So once again they are right on. Man these guys do really know what the hell they are doing.

erMonezza
erMonezza

Smart man. Keep away the good stuff from a disastrous experience in the movies. 

cheers

TripSolidBounty
TripSolidBounty

Grand Theft Auto Vice City the movie: RATED R FOR RETARDED

boarwar
boarwar

Add this to my growing list of support for R*


scottp61
scottp61

I'm curious to see a GTA movie where the main character goes on a crazy rampage where the national guard is called in. Then gets shot and killed, but wakes standing in front of a hospital with no criminal charges against him/her.

wilhelmalexis
wilhelmalexis

aren't video games already interactive movies?

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Cool to see Houser standing up for the IP. A lot of publishers/devs would probably sell their soul to have a movie made about their IP. He isn't willing to take the risk and tarnish the GTA name. He gets props over here.

lc4eav
lc4eav

HE is RIGHT. the movies cant do everything, they want do and put it in 2hours movie that cant be done. For Example, the prince of Persia, the movies was good but most fans expect something more. not much swordfights not enough running jumping like in the game.  you see?  for the game like GTA there are tons of things to do and try to put all that into a movie. no cant do. Most games that made in to movies now they do live up to the games concept at all. 


jayjay444
jayjay444

I can just see it 1 year form now GTA movie in the work! lol. 

On a serious note I actually think GTA would make a great movie but that's just my opinion. 

Joseph P. Johnson
Joseph P. Johnson

I don't think that it would work very well unless it was a short movie like what they did with san andreas and made a pre-game short film leading up to the game. Max Payne was a terrible movie yet people still are dumb and beg for more. This is why Hollywood keeps pushing crappy sequels and can't come up with anything original.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Bra. Vo. Further evidence that the folks over at Rockstar really are the dog's dangly bits.

Why would anyone dilute their franchise by giving its name to a sub-standard product?

HartPuncher
HartPuncher

Probably because there's like 400 movies about this shit already. 

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

I hate the word "Hollywood" almost as much as I hate hearing the word "corporate". Bunch of conniving scum!!!

side note: GTAV in one more week!!!!..................the longest week evar...........

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

Great interview. In my eyes, Rockstar series like RDR and GTA have already passed anything a film could offer. The GTA series already draws heavy references from pop culture..... be it movies, real-life historical events, music, etc.

I cannot see how it could be done into a compelling movie, something we have not seen before....it would just be a gangster movie basically, which is nothing new in the movie world.....Hollywood would love to get its hands on this franchise, as they would make lots of cash with minimal effort, based on the GTA name alone.....these days they are mostly devoid of any originality, and I'm not sure where they would be today if it were not for all these comic-inspired movies of late making all this money for them.

As a game, however, GTA is something magical, and it cannot be captured into a movie imo.....seems like this series is in great hands right now, and I hope it stays like that.

gf61
gf61

To many dev are following Hollywood instead of offering what they can't.

Glad he gets it.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

Yeah its easily the right call. Movies based on games suck and the game is better anyways.

WarhawK-harris
WarhawK-harris

Considering the consistently dismal record that video game-based movies have, there's even more reason not to sell out to Hollywood.  Just about every movie I've seen that was based on a game has either been mediocre or completely unwatchable. 

bouff
bouff

Why don't they just do a CGI movie (TV show would prob cost too much), like what Capcom done with Res Evil a few years back, at least then its all in there hands.

Daian
Daian

Good. That is all.

aloufika
aloufika

gta is more entertaining

Unholy123
Unholy123

There is nothing about GTA that would make a really good movie don't get me wrong its an amazing game series and GTA3 helped revolutionize what we could do in a 3D sandbox but still would make for either an 

a.) Dreadfully boring movie filled with cliches OR

b.) a bad movie filled with cliches but now with some terrible FPS element to simulate gameplay (goddamn you Doom movie)


The best moments of GTA are not its story or its cut scenes its how as the player can interact with the world and the simple fun he has while dicking around that's the strength of a GTA game its the kind of game you can pop on the TV and just let people take turns screwing about and laughing about it trying to top each other silly rampages.

James Dunham Jr
James Dunham Jr

Don't movies with the same basic premise as GTA come out all the time? Other than it being named GTA, how would you be able to tell if it was a GTA movie?

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@Gavin McAfee 

Is that really all you could say? Nothing worth typing in or worthy of reading. What was the point then?

GO AWAY FACEBUMMERS! 

No one likes you nor your idiotic posts!

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@NeOmeGamer 

Yes because Alone In The Dark was a cinematic masterpiece.

I am saying this because I've heard that he challenges his critics to a boxing match. I'm just too unfit for that! ;)

With that in mind, have you ever seen Bloodrayne? Wow what an epic story! They don't make them like that any more.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

@PlatinumPaladin the dogs bollocks! First heard that from chef Gordon Ramsey. I love saying it with an English accent.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

another side note; GTA does owe a bit of gratitude towards the film industry - seeing as Vice City pretty much let you live out your Scarface fantasies, and GTA3's soundtrack was pretty much Scarface's soundtrack. Scarface Scarface Scarface.

keeslingusarmy
keeslingusarmy

@ParadoxDice  Irrelevant though...Plenty of movies have the same name... That one just look's old and shitty.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@lelewow Yeah, that's a very good example actually. At least for the bank heist aspect as well as how the story was told.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@EMPTY-V 

Did you ever play Scarface? It was actually quite good. Good soundtrack too.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

@punksterdaddy @EMPTY-V   I remember it coming out a while back but I never picked it up. Will it hold me over until Sept. 17th? haha.