Why has Rockstar Games avoided making GTA or Red Dead Redemption movies despite popular demand?

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Rockstar Games’ much-anticipated title, GTA 6, is scheduled for a Fall 2025 release. With numerous popular video games like Doom, Halo, Warcraft, Resident Evil, and more recently, The Last of Us and Fallout, receiving movie or TV adaptations, it’s surprising that Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and Red Dead Redemption have not followed suit. Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games, sheds light on this decision, explaining why the company remains hesitant to adapt their beloved franchises for the big screen.

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The Risks of Losing Creative Control

In a recent interview with The Ankler, Houser shared that the idea of a GTA movie has been floated many times during his tenure at Rockstar Games. “After a few awkward dates, we’d ask the executives, ‘Why would we do this?'” Houser recalled. The typical response was, “You get to make a movie.” Houser countered, “No, what you’ve described is you making a movie and us having no control while taking a huge risk that we would end up paying for with something that belongs to us.”

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Houser emphasised that Rockstar Games values its intellectual property too highly to risk losing creative control. “We had what we considered to be a multi-billion-dollar IP, and the economics never made sense. The risk never made sense. In those days, the perception was that games made poor-quality movies,” he stated. This concern for maintaining control and the high stakes involved has kept Rockstar from pursuing film adaptations.

Successful Game-to-TV Adaptations

The hesitation to adapt GTA or Red Dead Redemption into films contrasts sharply with other successful game-to-TV adaptations. For instance, Naughty Dog’s action-adventure series, ‘The Last of Us’, and Bethesda’s Fallout have both been adapted into TV shows. ‘The Last of Us’, adapted by HBO, stars Game of Thrones actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie. The show received favourable reviews and has been renewed for a second season. Similarly, Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Fallout features notable actors like Ella Purnell and Walton Goggins and has garnered considerable interest.

Also read: GTA Online adds Vice City inspired missions and more exciting content ahead of GTA 6 release

Rockstar Games’s Reluctance to Change

Despite the success of these adaptations, Rockstar Games remains cautious. The company is not comfortable relinquishing control over its creations, preferring to keep GTA and Red Dead Redemption as purely video game experiences. For now, fans will have to be content with the immersive worlds Rockstar continues to build in its games, rather than seeing these universes translated to the big screen.

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