EDITORIALS

Iron Man Rocks the Box Office - Take That GTA IV!

by
May 4, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV

I can't pass up this opportunity to say "I told you so" to everyone who thought Grand Theft Auto IV was going to hurt the performance of Iron Man this weekend. Ah, what a great feeling it is to be right! If you remember, a few weeks ago I posted an article titled Iron Man vs GTA IV: The Ultimate Summer Showdown? discussing the buzz that had recently hit regarding the potential damage that GTA IV could have on Iron Man's box office earnings. I made the claim that it would not have an impact, barely at all, but plenty of others disagreed - including Movie Marketing Madness' Chris Thilk, who boldly said in the comments, "I think GTA is going to have a significant impact on Iron Man's box office." Now the reports are out, and guess what, Iron Man made over $100 million! Take that GTA IV!

The official reports are saying that Iron Man will end up with a weekend total of $104.2 million domestic. Combine that with $96.8 million internationally and the total take for the film is around $201 million - now that is impressive! If you're not convinced, check out these headlines - Variety: Iron Man a Box Office Marvel and Entertainment Weekly: Iron Man Forges Historic Box Office Win. Wow, historic?! What is not historic is GTA IV being so big that Iron Man flopped. Whoever started this idea that GTA IV would hurt its box office should be commended, or given a raise or promotion, because they probably helped Iron Man succeed! It gained even more traction when everyone started writing about how it wasn't going to do well. All publicity is good publicity!

What is currently missing are the numbers for GTA IV. The original prediction over at Next Generation claimed that GTA IV could sell upwards of 5.8 million copies in the first week, which would be a bigger opening than Halo 3 last year. However, I still haven't seen or heard the launch numbers for GTA IV - which must mean that it didn't hit as big as everyone was predicting. I know when I went to pick up my copy at midnight there definitely wasn't even half as much hype as there was for Halo 3. Besides this news from GameStop, I haven't heard anything else. As far as I can tell, this entire thing was flip flopped - Iron Man was the one that had the phenomenal release and GTA IV only performed rather normally.

I guess what I'm saying people should take away from this is to never jump on the bandwagon when industry analysts make predictions. In this day and age, numbers on paper aren't real ways of measuring potential success - and that's now confirmed. That is why you never see me throwing around any numbers or any predictions based on tracking or surveys because I always feel they're quite inaccurate. All of my predictions I make purely based off of the hype and buzz that I can feel when I go to the movie theater and when I talk with friends and colleagues. This time I was right - Iron Man did amazingly well despite GTA IV's launch. And I think those of you who predicted otherwise should think more broadly when it comes to entertainment - numbers on paper aren't real ways of measuring potential.

Photo courtesy of DJ Damien on Flickr.

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  • kit
    Honestly, this wasn't really a surprise. To think that a video game would hinder the performance of a movie is a pretty insane idea. This entire story was propagated by Halo 3's supposed effect on the box office when it debuted last fall. But how can you compare the impact Halo 3 and GTA would have when the original movie that was impacted when Halo came out was Ben Stiller's horrible Heartbreak Kid? Come on, it's freaking Iron Man. Halo had zero effect on Heartbreak Kid's B.O. It had more to do with the suckage of that movie. Iron Man was not going to be hurt by GTA and the results are pretty evident. Although there is obvious overlap in the demographics, the core audience of both GTA and Iron Man found time to enjoy both this weekend. If anything, those too wrapped up in the world of Niko Bellic may be seeing Iron Man next weekend and lifting the second week's take even more. Either way, it was a good week to be in the coveted 18-34, young male demographic. Hopefully it's sign of more to come with gaming and movie entertainment this summer!
  • Liran
    And sadly i still didn't see the movie, im gonna watch it but next week only.
  • darrin
    iron man did get pulled down by GTA 4 actually. Everyone really thought that iron man was going to make around 150 million because of the great reviews and the support of LG phones and their campeign but it only made over 100 million, but any iron man was great and GTA is awesome so its a win for everyone.
  • Brad
    What a pointless news post, i'm already tiring of this Iron Man fandom. How many news posts are there about Iron Man on this one site alone?! Yes it's out, and it's fun, now get over it.
  • Keith
    How much did I say Iron Man would make, $105? Yes, yes I did. :) I wouldn't say GTA IV performed "normally" though; that could be considered the understatement of the decade. It set the U.K. single day sale record with 607,000 copies, although that is still "unofficial." With that number we can predict that it will be one of the fastest selling games in history, taking one of the top few spots. Hardly normal, wouldnt you say Alex? :)
  • Keith
    Darrin, would you mind giving a link to your source for Iron Man being predicted to make $150 mil? Or were you making a joke? Nobody in their right mind would say Iron Man would make 150 million. Spidey 3 only made $135, and it was the second sequel in the biggest comic book movie franchise to date. Iron Man was expected to make around $80-$85, so making $104 is a huge victory. Hell even my prediction of $105 was considered a stretch. Yes, GTA IV had some impact on Iron Man in some way. But Iron Man's incredible box office performance means that any impact it did have was negligible.
  • Daniel
    Yea, I went out and saw Iron man and I thought It was a pretty good movie, and I agree that it did indeed rock to box office, however, various sales figureheads see GTA selling 10+ million copies this year being moddest, and around 17+ million at least by the time its done 17 mill X 60USD is 1.020 BILLION dollars thats BILLION with a B, and thats only the more modest figures plus take two hasn't released the sales figures yet. but in England it has taken the title of ultimate selling entertainment piece already. Yes I agree Iron man Rocked but, Gta is much more than a movie it is the highest grossing and downright funnest game AND overall media of ALL TIME hands down.
  • Rigo
    agree with number 7 on this.
  • Mrbobbyboy
    Completely agree with 7 and 8. Live in the UK and attempted to purchase GTA everyday last week. It was sold out in every store in town. Went to see Iron Man (which WAS excellent) and found a seat in a cinema on preview night without prebooking. It's a feeble indicator of reletive success but the fact that one media is instantly achievable and the other is desperately hard to come by (based on demand alone) is pretty indicative of the arguments for GTA in the long run. Obviously if you add all the merchandise sales to Iron Man's gross, the figure is going to rocket ... but we could take in to account the sales of Brady Games' GTA Source Book, which will also sell Millions. As Kit said - the best thing about all this is simply that great films and great games are dropping in 2008, and with Metal Gear Solid 4 launching on the same weekend as the Incredible Hulk in June things are only going to get more interesting!
  • Minic
    Never took that theory seriously for a moment. You mean people might stay at home playing Xbox instead of going to see a blockbuster action movie with friends? Pfft.
  • Minic
    ADD: Most people, anyway.
  • BWStephens
    #12 -- if you are making IRON MAN available over the internet, you're a pirate. If not, you're a liar. I did NOT download your "player" so you did not get to install whatever spyware/maleware you're pushing. Scum. Utter scum.
  • TJ
    The reason you haven't seen first week numbers for GTAIV, because it hasn't been a week dodo. Tomorrow would be a week. Xbox Live had 1 million people online the first day. I'd say it's going to do more than normal. Also, how much is Iron Man advertising agency paying you to kiss this movie's ass? I saw it and hated it.
  • Kevin
    Well let's see... #1.- A ticket to see Iron Man doesn't cost $60 bucks. But merely 12 bucks at the most is what each individual pays to see it. Not counting popcorn and a soda. That's optional since not everybody buys the food and snacks at the movie theater. That means that more people could afford to see Iron Man than pay for GTA IV. But it also means that the cash amount taken at the box office cannot be compared to the total amount made by GTA IV in the coming weeks. Because people are paying MORE to play that game. #2.- The total amount being made by GTA IV are combined sales on TWO GAME CONSOLES. Not just on one, like it happened in the good old days. So to compare the sales numbers of this edition of the series to the sales of past games is not quite valid. And it's good to consider that fact. #3.- Not every damn comic book geek has fantasies of a life of crime and desires to play such a simulator (GTA IV). Instead, unlike millions of suburban kids that want to pretend they're Vanilla Ice and have a "past" and live in crime ridden neighborhoods, plenty of geeks simply want to see on the big screen their comic book heroes come to life. In other words, not every geek is going to play GTA IV. Thus the movie was a success even without those kids that stayed home in their basement playing GTA IV in their teletubbies pijamas. #4 Iron Man was a success... DUH. It doesn't matter if GTA IV goes on to make Billions (with a B) since Iron Man will also go on to make a lot of $$$ not just with worldwide box office results, but when Marvel takes in what they make in DVD/Blu-Ray sales, getting payed to show the movie on Pay-per-view/Cable networks, etc. and all the merchendise related to the movie (t-shirts, cups, caps, cd's, toys, etc.) . And this from a franchise that is just starting out. Unlike GTA IV.
  • Andrew
    i am a fan of both robert downey jr. and GTA, so its like christmas came early for me, don't matter whos hurting who i guess, i've already watched Ironman, and i am playing GTA on my console now, so to those who havent check out Ironman or GTA IV, just give it a shot, i promise you wont regret it. p/s: can't wait for Speed Racer, Indiana Jones, Hellboy 2, and the Dark Knight. its gonna be one hell of a summer people.
  • Scorpio
    How many copies of GTA4 have been sold so far???
  • Don
    Ah! GTA 4 made over 400 million dollars in two days. I think you want to rethink your post. It still made have hurt Iron man by losing potential dollars.
  • dRailer
    I don't see the point of a "HA, take THAT!" post. It isn't as if there's some secret vendetta between comic book movies and video games, right? Nobody at Rockstar mu-hu-ha-ha-ha'd as they picked a date and said "We'll stick it to Iron Man" I'm guessing.
  • pwned
    Dude Iron Man got Pwned by GTA LOL... Look at the development costs and compare them to what they have made so far and will continue to make... You movie fanboys gotta realize that your time is over and the dawn of interactive media is upon us! When will hollywood wake up and realize that people are tired of paying upwards of $12 to sit in a room and stare at a screen....
  • nacarrell
    the fact is that Iron Man DID NOT get "pwned" by GTA. You could make the statement that GTA didn't get pwned by Iron Man, but $201 Million in a weekend is hardly getting pwned. And as you said, they are different mediums, so you cannot outright compare numbers. After a month or two GTA will stop selling like hotcakes, and Iron Man could quite easily still be showing. and once it doesn't show in theatres, there are dvd sales, merchandise, hell Marvel is even going to get some money out of the Iron Man video game that sega is making. And hollywood will probably realize this when movies stop turning a profit. So long as people are going to see it, and hollywood is making money, films will continue to be made. If I sell 100 hamburgers in a world where 80 hamburgers is doing quite well, and you sell 200 pizzas, that doesn't mean you pwned me. it means we both did well.
  • Lurch Land
    By the way, GTA 4 earned over $500 million dollars in it's first week, with over half of that from the launch day. That is more than 6 million copies sold. I think the primary reason that GTA didn't hurt Iron Man much is because GTA 4 was out a few days before the movie and those gamers could use a little break from commiting crimes and watch a crime fighter that is only 2 hours long. Short by comparison. I have played GTA4 for nearly 30 hours and haven't finished it yet. And, it is still interesting and great. I am excited to know that there is another movie in the works. Iron Man gives plenty of "hints" that there will be more movies. Now, I imagine the Iron Man game by Sega will make some money, but probably not much. Especially since the game straight up sucks. The game doesn't deserve to be considered to be based on the movie by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think either pwned the other. They both did very well and are different mediums. The prices are even different. $60 for the game and ... well here it is $8 for the movie. Where is the $12 movie price? I'm am guessing the coast somewhere or it is a really fancy theater. But really, why are people acting like it's a competition? Shouldn't we hope that they both did equally well? I honestly don't think that Rockstar and Marvel planned to be competing nor are they competing. I don't even see why fans would be fighting this. It's not Mac verses PC or PS3 vs. Xbox 360 or BluRay vs. HDDVD. I guess you are trying to make this video games vs. movies. But really, that competition couldn't be fought by only one player on each side. That would require the collective whole of each. But both mediums are very succesfull forms of entertainment, so lay of the fighting and the competing. It's juvinile. Just enjoy what hard working people are making for our entertainment. Please. Peace, Lurch Land http://www.myspace.com/lurch6

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