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In 24 Hours, 'Grand Theft Auto' Beat the Entire Domestic Runs of the Years' Top Two Films

By Mike Roorda | Trade News | September 20, 2013 | Comments ()


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A little company known as Take Two Interactive quietly released a small indie game by the name of Grand Theft Auto V this past Tuesday and by Wednesday night that game had made Take Two $800 million in sales. Of course only part of that last sentence is true. This wasn’t an indie effort, there were millions of dollars in marketing and production involved. Further, Take Two is a video game company that made just over a billion dollars in revenue last year and is expecting to top that figure in just this financial quarter alone. (Their stock is up 60 percent on the year.)

These are numbers that Hollywood wishes they could put up. The highest grossing movie of the year so far has been Iron Man 3 with a worldwide haul of $1.2 billion dollars. On opening weekend Iron Man 3 did $174 million in sales. Domestically, the top two films of 2013, Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me, in their entire domestic runs made less than GTA V did in twenty-four hours.

This definitely doesn’t mean that more people are enjoying video games than movies, however. Games that are new releases and Triple A titles sell for $60 a pop. (Triple A titles are the closest things that games have to a summer blockbuster, with huge production budgets and bombastic ad campaigns.) If everyone who went to see Iron Man 3 had paid the same $60 that GTA fans are forking over, the execs at Marvel and Disney would be swimming in Scrooge McDuck sized pools of cash.

It really isn’t a one-to-one comparison, is it? If we break it down into dollars per hour of entertainment, games are a bargain. Movies, I would guess, average about two hours long. Figure you saw it at the local multiplex and paid full price so tickets were (conservatively) $10 each. Easy math says you just paid $5/hour of entertainment. Games generally average around forty hours. (Some are much shorter, some can last 100+ hours.) If you paid the full 60 bucks when you bought it and didn’t wait until it was used or six months out of date, then you generally can be said to have paid $1.50/hour of entertainment. So, really, a much better investment.*

Given the massive sums of currency changing hands (seriously think about it, where do you PUT $800 million dollars? Like, which banks even DO that sort of thing?) it should surprise no one to state that gaming is an entertainment industry set to eclipse the old vanguard of film.

(*After earnestly expressing this sentiment to my wife and then tacking “so can I buy it?” onto the end of it, she simply stated “I didn’t need to know all that. I would have said yes anyhow.” She’s awesome.)



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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • Damn straight. Finally something breaking records that deserves the attention.

  • racquetmanthethird

    GTA 5 is a million times more entertaining than any film I've seen in the last 2 or 3 years. Cinema = stale as stale can be.

  • Ben

    Man after Saints Row has started firing on all cylinders in the crazy department. I just find it so hard to gather a fuck together for GTA games. The worlds they create are astounding sure, but the actual game wrapped around the world is kind of balls.

  • Tom

    That stopped me from playing GTA IV for about 4 years. I was just playing Saints Row 2 and 3 instead and it was some crazy fun. As long as those two series of games keep coming out and I keep playing video games, I imagine I'll just go back and forth between them.

  • zeus mcguinnus

    You have to ask your wife permission to buy a game? Jeez you are whipped,.whip it good.

  • googergieger

    I'm waiting for Watch Dogs myself. Or the next Fallout. Still pretty indifferent to the GTA franchise. Actually I might rebuy Fallout 3 and New Vegas and give them another go. Then again still have Tales of Xillia to plow through.

  • apsutter

    Dear God...when the fuck are we going to get another Fallout game? I was waiting patiently but now I feel like a pissed off girlfriend tapping her foot angrily waiting.

  • googergieger

    I think '14 is when Fallout 4 comes out.

  • apsutter

    Oh man, I really hope so. The whole lawsuit thing was such bs and delayed a new game for so long.

  • Budget and gross are all well and good as metrics, but consider this: zeke the pig is at home on a Friday night playing this game right now. zeke is at home playing this game. On a Friday fucking night. Your move, cinema.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Is Zeke at least enjoying a beer or twelve while playing at home on a FRIDAY NIGHT?

  • Oh indeed

  • Uriah_Creep

    Well, then, all is not lost for the Pig.

  • Slash

    I'd like to know the profit margin of the video game. Not just revenue. And no, I don't play. I don't care if other people do, whatever, it's your time, waste it however you want.

  • TCH

    Actually they probably just turned a good profit. As the game cost 200 million to make (or so I am told). Lets guess another 100 million in advertising and they just broke a billion already.

  • Tom

    I think I saw it cost $250 million. And they were working on it for over 5 years. So they definitely made a ton of money but they also invested a ton of time in the project. GTA IV took over 3 years to make. In a situation like this with a huge built in audience, most game makers would probably just churn something out every year or two because they're guaranteed to make a ton of money instantly.

  • TCH

    2K seems to have patience when it comes to developers.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I'm a 55 year old woman and I got mildly turned on when I saw the previews to this game. I can't imagine the response by young males. Simply gorgeous graphics.

  • TCH

    I like you.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I like that you like me.

  • TCH

    I like that you like me. This is getting meta.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    The company is Rockstar Games.

  • Zen

    Take Two own Rockstar and 2K. Take Two practically have a license to print money.

  • apsutter

    Damn...Take Two has had a damn good year

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Hm, there should be a meme about them, then. "Good Guy Take Two", or something like that. Consistently delivering great content while not being jerks to customers.

    Of course, CD Projekt Red are even better, but not as successful.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Anybody know who drew the header image? Is that Adam Hughes?

  • Ben

    I doubt it was Hughes, it would be someone in house at Rockstar that do all their Promo images. If they'd gotten Hughes into do their art they most likely would have advertised it.

  • Wrestling Fan

    I get well over 100 hours playtime per each runthrough of Fallout 3 and New Vegas. If I only played each game once, that would be 50 cents per hour of entertainment. Because I've played each one multiple times, always with differing options, we're looking at an amazing value of approximately 10 cents per hour of entertainment.
    Absolutely, positively worth the initial investments!
    I am going to start GTAV today, and I assume I'll be getting the same value out of it.

  • apsutter

    I spent 6 straight months playing nothing but Fallout 3...and a lot at that. I invested so much time into it and during the times that I'm between games it's always my fallback.

  • Andrew

    I still have only created one character in Skyrim and I haven't completed any of the major quest lines. And still I have over 300 hours logged into that game.

  • totallynotarockstarshill

    I've finished this game as of yesterday. It's pretty fantastic - it deals with a few cool themes here and there. It takes on politics, family, crime, race, drugs, corruption, pop culture - it takes a swipe at just about anything it can.

    I read it somewhere on the net but I don't remember where, but this quote pertains to GTA5 - 'if GTAIV is a satire of the american dream, then GTA5 is a complete anihalation of the american reality'.

    An amazing game, truly.

  • TCH

    It getting ready blow!

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I think the quote may be from the IGN review. Not sure, though.

  • Tom

    The comparison is interesting. I got the previous GTA game late and I've played it for 24 hours. I'm about 50% "complete" and 75% of the way through the story missions. I could conceivably play the game for another 12 hours and still have things to do. I've played GTA V for 20 minutes so far. I did 2 missions then sat at home smoking weed and watching cartoons. Why? Because why the fuck not?

  • AgLexington

    can I be your best friend?

  • Tom

    sure. when GTA online comes out you can come over to my house and get high and watch cartoons. when everybody else is out robbing banks we can watch it on tv.

  • Basement Boy

    They got my $60... see you in Los Santos!!

  • Aaron Schulz

    I already shot up an ambulance, flipped a pickup and punched a guy to let them know you are coming

  • foolsage

    See you there, homie.

  • TCH

    I will meet you there.

  • Derreck

    As someone who's pretty much been waiting on GTA V all year, i just have to say,

    damn right. At least with the GTA series, you're guaranteed to enjoy yourself. Most blockbusters these days can't even say that.

  • Ding! Correct answer

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