Adapting a video game into a film is nothing new. Many players hope to one day see adaptations of games such as Red Dead Redemption or GTA on the big screen.
It is now very common in popular culture for a video game to be adapted into a feature film. Old timers may remember with pain, even mockery, the movie Super Mario Bros. released in 1993. Starring actor Bob Hoskins as Mario, and John Leguizamo as mustachioed Luigi. Since then, adaptations have multiplied with varying results. Disappointing Alone in the Dark from 2005 to the excellent Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the field is vast. In this context, it is understandable that Take-Two Interactive is reluctant to adapt GTA and Red Dead Redemption.
Red Dead and GTA in film?
Take-Two has powerful licenses such as Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto, XCOM, Mafia, Midnight Club and Max Payne. Each of them could be adapted into a series or a feature film. However, the company’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, approaches this subject with caution. It must be said that the world of cinema, he must know it like the back of his hand, having been president and chief operating officer at the prestigious 20th Century Fox in October 1989. This is why he declared during the quarterly call to investors:
It’s a really demanding field, and we don’t want to risk the future of our business or the value of our intellectual property by venturing haphazardly into another area of entertainment..
In other words, giving Red Dead or GTA to a director is too risky. This is understandable given the mixed success of adaptations of big AAA games such as 2018’s Tomb Raider. It’s a complex decision, which is why the video game giant takes a very selective approach when it comes to adaptations:
We take a very selective approach to licensing, it will only be done where there is a creative imperative and an economic opportunity.
Two projects underway
Despite this, Take-Two has several video game adaptation projects in its hood. Known projects include Borderlands and BioShock. Alas, there is no trailer or release date for these movies yet. Although Borderlands completed photography in June 2021, little information has leaked since. It’s all the more bizarre that the high profile cast, including actors such as Kevin Hart, Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jack Black, are expected to cheer the editor on. This demonstrates that even giants can exercise caution.