In the April 29th edition of In Brief, I laughed off the notion that Rockstar's GTA IV release would threaten Marvel/Paramount's Iron Man financially. We're not talking about comparing the gross of the two here, but saying that because lots of people were going out and dropping almost $50 on GTA IV on a Tuesday, that fewer people would go out and pay $10 to watch Iron Man Thur-Sunday as a result.
Films have a much wider audience than video games do and the fact that blockbuster-sized games are more of an oddity than the norm kind of proves the point without having to even look at the entire deal all that closely. There probably won't be another game in GTA IV or Halo's league this year, and maybe not next year either. Games like this are taking 3+ years to develop while you can -- with some compromises -- shoot three movies in that time span and reap three times the profit. To then say something like this is either to be ignorant of reality, or just plain whoring for attention.
Studio executives in Hollywood fear the release of new video game Grand Theft Auto IV could affect the success of summer blockbusters including Iron Man and The Dark Night.
The game--the latest in the hugely popular series--goes on sale on Tuesday and is expected to sell millions of copies across the globe.
But movie executives are afraid that so many young men will stay at home playing video games that it will affect the box office figures for their high-profile movies, for which males are their prime target audience.
While it's certainly possible that "movie executives" are that stupid, I don't think that's really the case here. What I see is a fair amount of projection without any quotes of evidence to back up these unjustified "fears." As I said a few days ago, asking if game sales would threaten blockbusters, "They won't. Ever." Because games and movies aren't comparable either in product or in industry, is the reason why, and this is all the proof you'll ever need.
The numbers for GTA IV aren't in yet, but I'm sure it'll probably have a $300+ million haul for its first week which began on April 29th. 48 hours later, Iron Man began sneak previews in 2,500 theaters and opened ultra-wide (4,000+) on Friday. The results are nothing short of stunning.
Friday: $35.1 million Saturday: $37.5 million Sunday: $28.1 million
Domestic plus foreign box office returns suggest a $201 million three-day (and change) opening, the "second biggest 3-day release for a non-sequel in the history of Hollywood" according to Deadline Hollywood. For original features, only Spider-Man did bigger numbers in its first three days -- period.
Not only is that $15-20 million more than Paramount was dreaming for, that's what, just about two-thirds of what GTA IV was expecting over the course of seven days? Given the longer tail feature films have compared to games, there's no chance that Rockstar's monster is going to even be the biggest "entertainment property" in the first quarter (I know we're technical in the second quarter, but only by a few days.) And this is just the opening salvo for the summer movie season.
This is going to be a big year.
Update -- I've written about game and movie comparisons and why they don't make much sense previously if you're interested. Beginning with Halo 3 and how it faired against the big ticket feature films of last summer, Spider-Man 3, and Pirates 3, it wasn't pretty.