(AFP) – May 7, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — "Grand Theft Auto: IV" blew away videogame and Hollywood records as its creators reported Wednesday that it raked in an unprecedented 500 million dollars in its opening week.
Take-Two Interactive said approximately six million copies of "GTA IV: Liberty City Stories" have sold worldwide, with more than half of those games snatched up within 24 hours of the game hitting store shelves April 29.
"Grand Theft Auto IV's first week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment," said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick.
"We believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date."
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" took in 196 million dollars in its first week to seize the Hollywood crown for top-grossing film opening, according to Box Office Mojo.
Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter expects "GTA: IV" to be the second best-selling videogame ever behind its predecessor "GTA: San Andreas," which has sold 23 million copies.
"I'm sure 'GTA: IV' beats Hollywood movie opening weeks," Pachter told AFP.
"But it depends how one looks at it. I'm sure more people saw 'Ironman' than played 'Grand Theft Auto' in the past week but fewer dollars changed hands."
The 'Ironman' film based on the Marvel Comics character opened in theaters Friday.
The "GTA" franchise is the work of Take-Two's Rockstar Games studio and is an epicenter for outrage over violence in videogames because players triumph with acts such as carjacking, thuggery, and killing.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) stamped a "Mature" label on "GTA: IV" banning US retailers from selling the game to anyone less than 17 years old.
Take-Two hopes the superstar launch of "GTA: IV" will give it leverage in takeover talks with the world's largest video game maker, Electronic Arts, which is trying to buy the New York City-based firm.
Take-Two rejected a two-billion-dollar offer from EA and delayed talk of negotiation until after the release of "GTA: IV."
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