GTA not coming soon to a theater near you

Rockstar cofounder says idea of a big-screen Grand Theft Auto "never seemed interesting creatively," addresses game's delay and turmoil at Take-Two.

It doesn't take much for a game to warrant a big-screen adaptation these days, as evidenced by such produced and proposed films as Painkiller, Bloodrayne, and Jagged Alliance. So with deals in place for so many gaming properties, why hasn't there been more speculation about a movie for one of the industry's most successful--and cinematic--properties, Grand Theft Auto?

It turns out the GTA creators at Rockstar Games simply aren't interested in turning their signature series into a movie. Rockstar cofounder Dan Houser gave Variety an extended interview that touched on a slew of topics, including the noticeable absence of a cinematic GTA adaptation. The reason came up in an explanation of how cautious the company is about milking its cash cow.

"We try and protect it," Houser said. "The intellectual property is the main asset in the company. That's why GTA is still relevant 10 years later. We haven't put one out every year. We haven't fleeced it. And we haven't put it on 50 different formats. We're not per se against moving properties between different media but for GTA it just seems so perfect as a game. You lose a lot of what makes it what it is if you move it into being, say, a movie. It just never seemed interesting creatively."

That might be because Houser already thinks his game makes for a perfectly good movie in its current form. In addressing the controversy surrounding the series, Houser said it wouldn't exist if Grand Theft Auto weren't a product of the gaming medium.

"If this was a movie or TV show and was the best in its field, you'd give it loads of awards and put those awards shows on television," Houser said. "I genuinely don't aspire to that, but I do aspire to not being called an a****** for doing the same thing in a videogame. So what you're really saying is, 'It's not the content, it's the medium.' You've proven that by your actions in other areas. So what is it about the medium you don't like? Because maybe we should challenge those ideas. It's not what you think it is to a lot of people. To us, it's way of experimenting with non-linear interactive storylines."

Houser also talked about ongoing boardroom intrigue at Take-Two Interactive, most recently coming in the form of a hostile takeover bid from Electronic Arts. He emphasized that such drama is nothing new for the publisher, but Rockstar has pressed on regardless.

"There have been so many CEOs since I worked here," Houser said. "Some were fantastic and some not so. But it never stopped us and I don't think it's going to. I'm so used to it I can't imagine any other environment. ... The one thing that whoever is in charge of Take-Two has been cool about is understanding that we do a good job of running Rockstar."

That trust from management was tested last year when Rockstar delayed Grand Theft Auto IV from an October 16, 2007 release date that had been announced more than a year earlier. Houser said if the game winds up having been a success a year from now, nobody will care that it was late in arriving.

"It will seem irrelevant," Houser said of the delay. "This franchise is so big that it doesn't need a Christmas release to do well... Christmas has always been big and it's always going to be, but it's gotten SO [emphasis in original] focused in videogames. I think for the next stage of its maturity as a business it needs to move out anyway. It's interesting to see what's hopefully going to be the biggest release this year not going at Christmas."

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Discussion

255 comments
MajinBuXL
MajinBuXL

i actually think they could make a nice movie out of this for once. mafia, police, corruption, corruption are always good in a movie. Could be like a modern godfather or something.

ye-llo
ye-llo

keep it GTA in video games dont kill the game. movies are never the same as games. dont do anythin stupid rockstar.

Dreski83
Dreski83

Its one of those things better in one format over another... keep it on the videogames.

SportzGamer73
SportzGamer73

i think it's dumb how they are always turning games into movies, and movies into games.

IE_Tho
IE_Tho

these games already have a certain cinematic quality to them. it would be unwise to make a movie out of them.

SaberSpellSword
SaberSpellSword

Its a good thing they aren't making it a movie. I think it would suck. it would just be a run of the mill action movie. I don't see how it could give us anything to see that we haven't already seen a million times before. it probably wouldn't have a good story either.

dead_god86
dead_god86

as many have said, GTA would not work as a movie, there is too much to cram in, which story would they follow form which game in teh series, and not to mention the main idea behind GTA is it's a sandbox crime spree, you can't get that from a movie. if EA where to take over Take2, it would almost definately become a movie eventually

jordan1
jordan1

good a gta film would suck

sidious
sidious

I'm glad they are not moving foward with a film. As others have stated, the GTA franchise has borrowed heavily from famous film series such as The Godfather, Scarface, Heat and so forth... so a film would be hard pressed to feature much originality.

gamer153
gamer153

GTA Movie? I thought they had already been made: Scarface, Miami Vice, et al. I hope they hold true and NEVER do it. 2¢

realgggjjj
realgggjjj

A Gta movie? Pass. Lmao, i can only imagine how lame it would be.

skitzo_zac
skitzo_zac

I wants a PC version of GTA IV :(

stubbs-solid
stubbs-solid

don't forget donie brascoe.... love my al pacino

dngrx
dngrx

The fact of the matter is the GTA franchise is pretty much an adaption of all those great gangster films i.e Scarface, Goodfellas, Casino & Menance 2 Society. Pulling off a film adaption of GTA without it being corny would be impossible. Leave the gangter films for Martin Scorsese.

ColdGen
ColdGen

JHC learn to spell Morb!

Morb
Morb

The game would never make it to the silver screen. No way would Hollywood allow a character to perform all the horofic acts a Grand Theft Auto lead gets to do. Whatever.....let me do it when the game gets released in a week, don't cheapen it by putting it in theatres....as most movies from games suck anyway. On the other hand, could you imagine the budget for Grand Theft Auto: The Movie!!!

Hameyadea
Hameyadea

A Grand Theft Auto movie? GTA is an infinite story, with countless possibilities at any moment - should I shoot some people?, Should I drive around aimlessly? Should I continue working for ?, Should I deliver pizza?, etc... As a game, Grand Theft Auto fits right into these descriptions. As a movie, it doesn't.

Zestytoaster
Zestytoaster

its not because of the "diverse" story that they're not making a movie. the storylines of GTA are completely unrelated to any other GTA. its because the stories are in no way original, and the only reason the movie would outsell "In the Name of the King" is because GTA has a large pre-established fanbase.

Bloodninja69LOL
Bloodninja69LOL

Im not sure how a GTA movie would be good at all. I mean, there would be a guy running around NYC shooting at people and doing odd jobs? I am not sure how a GTA movie would be able to differentiate itself from other movies that have already been released that are similar.

diablusx
diablusx

There is no way that there can be a good GTA series or movie. GTA is, has and always will be a collage of ideas taken from various genres and thrown together just right that it blends into the setting and time period. Any movie/series would be bogged down by "high-ups" that do not know anything about the series or by "test groups" that will strip the series until it resembles nothing that it should be.

mitchster_chief
mitchster_chief

maybe a tv series but the GTA story is so diverse no single movie could cover everything

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

i never could see this really panning out into a movie...i just dont see how you could do it, the games are like in a league of there own that i dont even see how a movie could be made, this is just 1 of those things that dont need to be made into a movie...in the words of a famous song im sure many of you know.."Let it be...let it be...."

Huggy12345
Huggy12345

A movie would sort of miss the GTA series up, I think they should only focus on the game and not making a movie.

Amir29
Amir29

I wonder if they'll be singing a different tune if and when profits begin to drop. But regardless, I agree with Houser entirely.

gazzad
gazzad

Good! Most video game > movie versions suck!

majestikk
majestikk

Well put Mr. Houser. All your points were critical, calcalutive and expressively made in describing why GTA should never ever be made into a movie. No need to milk GTA. GTA is in essence, that videogames, when done right, really don't need to be made into films. It's when they're made into films that we realize it ruins our perception of what the game was truly meant to be. Not all films bring justice to the mediums in which they're inspired. I've yet to see a brilliant videogame adaption. Even comic adaptions are seldom good with the exception of a bright few. I'd respect the thought of bringing other mediums into film only when there is some dedication to fulfilling the fans, and when "cashing in" isn't the only agenda.

agustbestur
agustbestur

Too many stories are in the GTA games they cant put them all together

ronnet
ronnet

The whole point of GTA is that it's a game. It's that simply. Some games are about one specific story and could work as an average movie (Halo for example) but I cant see GTA being a movie. Who would want to see another gangster/mafia movie with over the top action in it just because it's called GTA?

Brad_the_one
Brad_the_one

There is no way that a gta movie would live up everyones expectations. It would just be like a more recent scarface. Leave GTA as a video game, so that it can shine in its best suited medium. (example: tomb raider = good games and bad movies.)

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Protect that franchise Rockstar. So far every game-to-movie adaption (except for a few FF's and RE's) have absolutely sucked. Besides, I don't think they could get that wonderful sense of humor that the GTA games have into a movie.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

I don't know how the movie would turn out. I would say, let the writers for the game write an original movie - not based on any GTA's - and then make a ganster movie out of that script. Don't try to make an actual "GTA" movie, though. Hopefully Houser can keep his house in the same condition if EA takes it over. EA hasn't been too generous about that and I would expect Houser and his best developers to go independent if EA tries to put them on a leash and force them to force-feed us with yearly GTA releases.

Gameboy2k
Gameboy2k

I admire the company. If a movie did come out, people would be beechin and Moanin about how they dont like the actor chosen for the movie. Also, if you watch the movie, you may think to yourself....I would have spared the old guy and shot the young guy.... GTA's greatest success is that it allows you to choose the outcome, not some hollywood director who's out of touch with the fan base.

scrymonster
scrymonster

Blizzard Entertainment has a track record of delaying games in order to perfect game-play and content quality...in the end noone ever cares that their games come out two years after their first scheduled deadline because they're too busy STILL playing the previous quality game Blizzard released or so enthralled by the new game they forgot they waited at all. Quality is by far more important then a piddly Christmas release date, this franchise is so huge people will wait another year for the next installment and buy it no matter what day it's released along with taking a week off from work just to play it.

nrCooldude
nrCooldude

Take-Two is just the best. Any other publisher would just milk the cash cow and sell movie rights.. or sell out to EA. But T2 has been firm. And like Houser said, they dont make a game every year. These things take them a level ahead of others. GTA ftw!!

dylandaslasher
dylandaslasher

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

zombey1333
zombey1333

Movies based off of comics, cartoons, video games, etc are all over rated. Most of them turn out to be nothing but garbage to make money off of. Very rarely are they actually true to their origins, especially since most studios always try to shoot for a less-than-r rating on EVERYTHING. Although...that would, hopefully, be impossible with GTA. They did manage it with Mortal Kombat and Aliens Vs Predator, though.

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

Of course anyone needing to see a GTA movie can just watch any number of the movies that gta spoofs on (early GuyRichie & Tarantino films and classics like scarface) or movies that you can tell were inspired by GTA. Anyone here seen Crank?

wombat86
wombat86

No Movie that would destroy the game...

benjo89
benjo89

GTA: The Movie would just be a cheap money spinner, but in all essence, wouldn't be very good. Let's face it, if GTA was translated into a film, how similar would it be to SO many other films out there - The Godfater, Layer Cake, Scarface, The Business - seen as GTA takes influence, it would just be plain. The joy of GTA as a game is that you get to interact with this world that you see in the movies! Plus I like Houser's point of it being the medium, not the content that people have the problem with.

blindsided82
blindsided82

Ok, its been a while since Ive played GTA: SA, so you'll have to remind me where in the game it makes you listen to any particular song, because I could have sworn that it was up to the player what music he listened to at any given time. No doubt, is sounds like a magical moment, but for most of my time playing I remember bouncing between NWA and the metal station. When I refer to the story line deriving most of its inspiration from movies/tv shows, I mean the scripted story line as set up by the game producers. What you are referring to seems to be just another unique user created/controlled moment, which falls in the same vein as picking up a prostitute/going on a rampage. As far as story lines go, it would not work being turned into a movie. You'd basically be making a movie out of a game that took most of its material from other movies. That would be like making a game out of a movie that was made out of a game, and that didn't work too well for the "Street Fighter: the movie: the game" last I checked. And so you understand, I'm not in anyway bashing what GTA has done in taking its story line from good movies. I think it works perfectly in game format. However, it would not work attempting to translate it back into movie format without making it a satire, which would ruin the feel of the game, and in which case you may as well just hand it over to Uwe Boll, as it seems to be what he's doing with Postal.

volcomstoner180
volcomstoner180

phew is right i dont care there is no movie the game is the movie, you are the starring role thats whats sick about this game

ShadowOfKratos
ShadowOfKratos

For a second there I thought they meant the game was beeing delayed, then I read again... *Phew*

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"algy24 there is already a grand theft auto movie out. many many years old? Posted Apr 22, 2008 8:00 am CT Rate this comment / (+1) " Yeah but that was directed if not produced by Ron Howard and natch it was a comedy. Somehow I don't think Rockstar wantsx their game of the same name to be attributed to that work. Let alone for it to be considered a remake...kind of takes away from any notion of originality. I still think a movie could work in the right hands as long as its not Uwe Bolls' or anyone aspiring to be the next Uwe Boll. MTV Studios should be involved due to how the music is intigrated in the game and how it feels like it helps to create the mood and the atmosphere. There should be two writers one who's a seasoned comedian (not Martin Lawrence) and one who knows how to write an action movie (Jerry Bruckhiemer perhaps? Maybe we should wait and see how his Prince of Persia comes out first.) blindsided82 And to those few sad folks saying that GTA would make a good movie/show, please just read the list of movies/shows that I listed in the post below, and know that it would not work simply because in order to make the GTA games, they took often directly from the mentioned movies in storyline. Want to know what GTA: Vice City would be like on tv? Watch Miami Vice and Scarface back to back. Want to know what GTA: San Andreas would be like as a movie? Watch Boys in tha Hood/Menace to Society, and listen to some NWA. Sorry folks, I know y'all enjoyed the games so much and their cinematic-ness that you believe it would translate well into film, but that is only because the majority of it and its influence was translated directly from film. 'Nuff said. (in reference to GTA:SA) and what about the Isley Bros. song Between the sheets? Tell me that wasn't magical to have that playing during a chase scene while on a motorcycle? What movie was that derived from?

1colin1
1colin1

Oh **** I read it wrong and thought they where saying about the game, I was ready for crying :(

happy_84k
happy_84k

Who cares! we want the game!

algy24
algy24

there is already a grand theft auto movie out. many many years old?

RedSoxFred
RedSoxFred

to those who think a movie where the man character kills people left and right with no repercussions wouldn't work ? You are right, although some people seemed to think No Country for Old Men was a good movie..