Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick discusses the company’s reluctance about turning games like Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto into movies.
For a game that’s six years old already, Red Dead Redemption has been making headlines fairly frequently in 2016. That’s largely due to the persistent rumor that Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games are gearing up to produce a Red Dead Redemption sequel for 2017, although if that’s true, it would be the industry’s worst-kept secret at this point. It’s certainly clear gamers are eager to explore more of Red Dead Redemption‘s wild west setting, but there’s still nothing concrete that suggests they’ll be able to in the near future.
Perhaps that uncertainty is what fueled discussion over whether or not Take-Two was planning to take the Red Dead Redemption franchise in another direction. More recent rumors have speculated that a Red Dead Redemption film might be in the works, or at the very least being discussed by those with the power to make it happen. CEO Strauss Zelnick recently discussed Take-Two’s approach to turning its IPs into films, and although it wasn’t a flat-out “no”, the quote was far from encouraging:
“For us to license motion pictures, we have been very selective because the economic opportunity is limited and the creative risk is meaningful…if a bad movie is made it may hurt our underlying intellectual property, and if a good movie is made the actual value of the license fees is enormous. So we have to be very, very selective.”
While it’s encouraging to hear Zelnick re-state what he had previously indicated about milking Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto too heavily, the statement is likely a bittersweet one for fans who were hoping for either a Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto film in the next few years. It’s hard to argue with Zelnick when very few video game movies have succeeded in the past and simply making Red Dead Redemption backward compatible was enough to jump its sales 6,000% worldwide.
If the risks behind licensing a video game movie have historically been much greater than the reward, however, that philosophy could soon change. The recent success of the Warcraft movie proved that finding a big enough niche was possible, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed movie will hope to turn Warcraft‘s surprise strength at the box office into a trend. That Ubisoft didn’t make an Assassin’s Creed game this year to make the movie better, however, speaks to Zelnick’s concerns over sacrificing potential revenue while chasing the dream of a Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto movie.
Unfortunately for Red Dead Redemption fans, it looks like would-be gunslingers will need to rest their hopes back on a video game sequel rather than a film adaptation if they want something out of the franchise in the near future. What do you think about Take-Two’s stance on video game movies? Do you think Red Dead Redemption would make a better film than most other options in the industry? Let us know in the comments below.