A few weeks ago I read something on the interwebs about some Hollywood analysts who were concerned about the release of Grand Theft Auto IV and its potential to siphon attention (and ticket sales) away from the Summer’s first blockbuster, Iron Man. Could a video game really pose that big of a threat to a major motion picture?
This isn’t the first time movie studios have wrung their hands over the release of a video game. The disappointing opening of last Fall’s Heartbreak Kid was partially blamed on the release of Halo 3. While I fail to see the connection there, this time the analysts’ concerns made a lot of sense. After all, both GTA IV and Iron Man were shooting for the same core demographic. Think of those guys waiting outside the Gamestop last Monday night. There’s a good chance you’d see the same crowd lining up for Iron Man on Thursday or Friday night. But would they dutifully show up and plunk down hard cash for tickets when the allure of Liberty City was still so fresh?
Apparently they did…or at least some of them. Iron Man did just fine, clearing more than $100 million(domestically) over the weekend. Could it have done better? Perhaps. Spiderman 3 is still the king of the openers, raking in over $150 million last year on the same weekend. Publicly, the studio will be pleased with Iron Man’s strong opening. But going forward, I’m sure many studios will pay more attention to future juggernaut video game releases.
So what did I do? I bought GTA IV on Tuesday and still managed to see Iron Man on Friday. While I’m not a huge fan of the Iron Man comics, I thought the movie was very good, thanks in large part to Robert Downey Jr. spot-on portrayal of Tony Stark. Really, this is probably the most faithful superhero casting ever…even edging out Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. As for GTA IV, I’m still savoring it. So how did you spend your weekend?