During a recent interview with MCV, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick stated that the company is looking to get some of its titles translated to the big screen. Zelnick appears cautiously hopeful about the endeavor, pointing out the less than stellar track record of video game adaptations, but saying that Take-Two has several titles licensed for production without divulging further details. However, Zelnick did confirm that Take-Two will not currently be investing its own money in motion picture production. Instead, they are sticking to licensing titles but retaining control over the final product, which is, financially, a less risky move.
Given the box office takings of recently released video game adaptations, Take-Two is right to be cautious. Last year’s Ratchet & Clank grossed just over $8 million at the box office against a budget of $20 million and received negative reviews. Ubisoft’s film of Assassin’s Creed fared slightly better, grossing $212.8 million worldwide against a budget of $165 million (not including promotion and marketing costs) but was also critically panned and leaves some fans to doubt that there will be further films in the franchise.
“We are open-minded. We are certainly not going to use our own balance sheet to invest in motion pictures and TV. If other people want to license them and we can retain creative control, we are open-minded. The track record of the conversion of video game IP to motion pictures is spotty at best,” said Zelnick.
Given Take-Two’s plethora of titles, it’s anyone’s guess which titles have been licensed out. Chances are, NBA, WWE and Civilization are off the table, though with a Tetris movie in the works it’s anyone’s guess.
Franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands and Bioshock are probably high on the list of potential movie licenses as they all have stories that would translate well to film and are highly recognizable. Other properties such as Red Dead, Max Payne, and XCOM would also be easily translatable to film, though they don’t have the same brand name recognition for non-gamers compared to something like GTA.
Another option for Take-Two could be launching a new property simultaneously as a video game and a movie adaptation. While it’s certainly a risky move, it could work to boost its own sales if done right, and it’s certainly something that hasn’t been tried before.
What properties from Take-Two Interactive would you want to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!