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

By Mike Roorda | Industry | September 20, 2013 |

By Mike Roorda | Industry | September 20, 2013 |

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 If you paid the full 60 bucks when you bought it and didn’t wait until it was used or six months out of date, then you generally can be said to have paid $1.50/hour of entertainment.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.)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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