Success of the game bodes well for other tentpole game releases debuting this fall including the next “Call of Duty,” “Assassin’s Creed” and “Battlefield” sequels, as well as “Batman: Arkham Origins” and newcomer “Watch Dogs.”
The release of “GTAV” is certainly impressive, especially when compared to film releases.
The top three earners at the box office this year are Disney’s “Iron Man 3,” which generated $1.2 billion; Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” at $840 million; and Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel,” at $663 million.
“GTAV” boasted a budget just as lofty as most tentpoles, with Rockstar spending around $115 million to make the game and Take-Two another $150 million to market it throughout the year.
Of course, games are more expensive than movie tickets: “GTAV” is priced at $59.99 for the standard edition, $79.99 for a Special Edition and $150 for an exclusive GameStop edition.
“We are incredibly proud of Rockstar Games’ creative achievement and could not be more pleased with the success of this launch,” said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in a statement of the game which has generated high scores from game critics. It has a 98 on Metacritic.
Activision’s bestselling “Call of Duty” franchise earned $500 million in a day when “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” was released in the U.S. last year.
It went on to earn $1 billion in 15 days, setting a record for the ‘Call of Duty’ franchise and the videogames biz. That figure was a record for the franchise, one day faster than 2011’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”
The results of “Grand Theft Auto V” don’t come as a surprise and follow reports from several analysts that predicted the game would make $1 billion in its first month of release and move 20 million copies by the end of Take-Two’s fiscal year in March 2014. “Grand Theft Auto IV” shipped nearly 25 million units after its release in 2008.
However the final numbers blew away even some analysts’ expectations, with hundreds of people waiting in lines in cities around the country to get their hands on the first copies of the new game on Tuesday.
“We see potential for worldwide day-one sell-through of 6.5 million units (and) $400 million for GTA V,” said analysts Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauser of Sterne Agee.
The fifth installment in the “Grand Theft Auto” series has yet to launch in Japan and Brazil.
Game revolves around a trio of criminals who pull off heists in a fictional version of Los Angeles, known as Los Santos. Appeal of the franchise over the years has been the ability to veer off and explore the city, stealing cars and causing mayhem.