Is There Going to Be a Grand Theft Auto Movie?

Grand Theft Auto V promo trailer screenshot

Is There Going to Be a Grand Theft Auto Movie?

Grand Theft Auto began in 1997 when it dropped on MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows and later on PlayStation and Game Boy Color. Since then, it’s been a juggernaut of a series, releasing seven major titles, all of which have been successful and well-loved. Many of the games have almost endless playability and are frequently still played today. With so much firepower and such a large fanbase, making the game into a movie seems logical. So, will there be a Grand Theft Auto movie, and why hasn’t there been one yet? 

Movie Close Calls

Grand Theft Auto V GTA+ promo image

There is a Grand Theft Auto titled movie out there, a 1977 driving comedy directed by and starring Ron Howard. While there are multiple instances of grand theft auto in the film, it’s unrelated to the game franchise. Hopefully, if there is ever a Grand Theft Auto movie about the game, Ron Howard can appear, even if only in a cameo.

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There almost was a Grand Theft Auto movie at one point, according to Kirk Ewing, an insider close to the founders of Rockstar Games (via ​​Eurogamer). He revealed on a 2022 podcast that sometime after Grand Theft Auto 3, which dropped in 2001, the company discussed a possible movie that would have starred Eminem. According to Ewing, Rockstar eventually decided their super successful game franchise was too big for a movie and let the idea go. Eminem did go on the following year to break out in his big movie debut in 8 Mile.  

It’s All About Choices

GTA V city promo photo

Grand Theft Auto originally debuted from developer DMA Design and publisher BMG Interactive. Even in the game’s first version, the goal is to cause destruction, death, and general chaos. When gamers got a taste of this freedom and system of being rewarded for doing wrong, they couldn’t get enough. All the sequels essentially just advance this concept, with each adding more to do, more options to do it, and more general freedom. The modern games are all open-world, and players can choose exactly what they do in their Grand Theft Auto world. 

According to Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick, freedom and endless choice-making are significant aspects holding the franchise back from making a movie. Take-Two owns Rockstar Games, the developer for most of the Grand Theft Auto games. In 2021, he essentially said that games are interactive and movies are not, and the desire to make decisions while watching a linear story in a movie would get in the way (Via GameSpot).

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A Lasting Impression

GTA IV characters promo

The last game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, was released in 2013. In the game, you can switch between third and first person as you assume the role of three different protagonists. The story centers around the three main characters pulling heists. However, outside the main story, there’s still the open world where chaos is welcome that keeps players returning to the game. 

Despite being ten years old, the game is still revered and supported by Rockstar. A new edition to the series is Grand Theft Auto Online, where 30 players can play online in an open world. The game is so popular it is the second highest-selling game ever. 

The fact that the game is still so popular and widely played strangely seems to be another reason why no movie is in the works. In 2013, before the massive Grand Theft Auto V really even hit its stride, the president of Take-Two addressed the issue. He essentially said that movies are great game advertisements but can also be the opposite. He expressed concern about a bad Grand Theft Auto movie hurting the already successful franchise (via GameSpot). Since the last game is doing just fine on its own ten years later, it seems he may be correct.

What’s Really Important?

The next Grand Theft Auto game is finally in the works and should be out in 2024. The game will undoubtedly be as popular as the previous games. Releasing such a well-made and popular open-world game and advertising for it costs a lot of money, which may be another reason why Rockstar is sticking to games. 

In 2010, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser expressed this sentiment in an interview with The Guardian’s Matt Hill. He said the money they would receive for making a Grand Theft Auto movie wouldn’t be enough to risk it being bad via The Guardian. A bad film could lose the company and franchise valuable assets and fans that may not be recoupable. They have their budget under control and are cranking out great games that last ten years, so why bother with a movie?


There currently aren’t any open discussions about a Grand Theft Auto movie or show. There’s plenty of buzz still about the franchise, but it’s all centered around Grand Theft Auto VI. This focused excitement makes sense as the games are all the fans need to make their own Grand Theft Auto stories. 

While we’d like a movie in theory, it doesn’t seem like it’s coming any time soon. The combination of the success of the games, the risk of going to Hollywood, and the open-world immersive nature of the game lend themselves to there not being any Grand Theft Auto movie. Perhaps down the road, if the game’s success wanes or Rockstar’s leadership changes, the idea may be revisited. We’ll just have to wait for 2024 to play the new game and see how RPG-giant Fallout’s open world translates to a live-action show

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All Grand Theft Auto Games in Release Order

  • Grand Theft Auto (1997)
  • Grand Theft Auto II (1999)
  • Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
  • Grand Theft Auto VI (2024)
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