Video games being adapted into movies is not an uncommon thing, but one game that seems like an easy adaptation, Grand Theft Auto, has never made the jump. According to a recent profile on the series, however, it almost did at one point.
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In a recent interview with Kirk Ewing on the BBC Sounds podcast based on rapper Bugzy Malone and the impact games have had on him (via Eurogamer), Ewing and Chris Warburton broke down the history of the game franchise. Ewing, who was working as an agent in Hollywood in the early 2000s, then recounted a story about how, shortly after Grand Theft Auto III released, chatter about a movie based on the series had begun to form.
“This was just after 3 [released],” Ewing said, “and I think at that point it was still in [Sam Houser, co-founder and president of Rockstar Games]’s mind that it might be something that they wanted to do.”
After some more prodding from Warburton, Ewing then revealed that he had received calls from a producer in Los Angeles, who offered to make a Grand Theft Auto film starring none other than Marshall Mathers, or Eminem as he’s known around the world. The project would be directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun), and Ewing was told that Rockstar would receive $5 million for the film. However, after talking with Houser, Ewing said the Rockstar Games President quickly shut down the idea.
“At that point,” Ewing continued, “they withdrew from any conversation about making a film when they realized the media franchise they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.”
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While the decision might have been curious at the time, Houser’s thoughts on the GTA series proved to be right. Not only did the franchise go on to be the biggest gaming franchise in the world, but Grand Theft Auto V has also since become regarded as the most profitable piece of entertainment ever across any medium. While a film based on the series may not be out of the question in the future, the current status of the games means Rockstar will likely be asking for a lot more than $5 million next time talks may occur.