Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto franchise has become a behemoth in the video game industry by making more money than other titles could ever hope to bring in, but the developer and publisher, Take-Two Interactive, have kept the franchise limited to just the games. No big, cross-medium adaptations like a movie or a TV series have happened even if they seem like they’d be easy wins considering how many people already love Grand Theft Auto. Strauss Zelnick, the chairman and CEO of Take-Two, offered his perspective on why a Grand Theft Auto movie hasn’t happened yet and why it probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Zelnick spoke to TheWrap’s Sharon Wasman during the outlet’s Grill series that focuses on games, esports, and other developments in the industry. The two spoke about the idea of video games being turned into movies and vice-versa with Zelnick saying that movies have certainly had a better time getting those properties adapted to games compared to when games are adapted into movies.
Eventually, the conversation shifted towards the topic of a Grand Theft Auto movie, or at least the idea of one. Wasman asked Zelnick if the company had ever tried to make a Grand Theft Auto movie, and the CEO said they hadn’t.
"Part of it is, if we were to do something like that, we’d want to have complete creative control to make sure we expressed it the way we wanted,” Zelnick said. “And that would mean we’d need to finance that motion picture. While we have the balance sheet to do it, we don’t have the corporate expertise to do it. Only a handful of people inside Take-Two have ever worked in that business. I’m one of them. But that’s not what we do for a living.”
Zelnick continued to explain Take-Two’s stance by reminding everyone how successful Grand Theft Auto is and asking if it made sense to give up the creative rights to another company regardless of how talented they might be.
“You have the most valuable intellectual property ever created by mankind: Grand Theft Auto,” he continued. “We wholly own and control it. Are we really going to let go of that and hope that someone, no matter how talented they are, will do a really good job with that?”
Grand Theft Auto V is the latest game in the series to be released and is still going strong years later, though people are now anxiously waiting to hear more about the fabled Grand Theft Auto VI, whatever that game might look like.