Why Grand Theft Auto has not been made into a movie yet

Take-Two president Karl Slatoff says movie based on the series could be a lucrative licensing opportunity, but warns of risks.

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Take-Two has explained why it has yet to greenlight a film adaptation of its massively popular Grand Theft Auto series. Speaking this week during a BMO Capital conference, president Karl Slatoff said licensing the rights for a film could be lucrative, but warned of the risks associated with adapting a video game franchise for the big screen.

"If you’re going to invest in a movie--you can make a lot of money on movies--but as a licensor, you’ve got to look at what the success rate is, what the movie has to do for you to generate substantial economics that are worth taking the risk," he said.

Slatoff said film and TV representatives have demonstrated interest in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, as well as nearly all other Rockstar properties, but pointed out that Take-Two is wary of the impact a poorly received film could have on the series.

"So if it’s a bad movie, does that hurt your franchise or not? So there is always a balance that has to be struck there. But obviously, we consider those inbound requests. We take those inbound requests. So it’s something we consider at this point, but again it's not core to what we do."

This matches up with comments from Rockstar Games cofounder Dan Houser in 2011. At the time, he said Rockstar has "explored" numerous Grand Theft Auto movie deals, but has yet to be convinced to bring the series to the big-screen.

"We love movies, but we also love games and that is what we remain focused on. If we were to attempt to make a movie, we would like to make it ourselves, or at least work in collaboration with the best talent, so at least if it is bad, we can know we failed on our own terms," Houser said at the time.

Take-Two filed a trademark application for "Rockstar Films" in December 2010. However, the publisher has never commented on this.

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