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Grand Theft Auto Smashes Hollywood Records

Grand Theft Auto Smashes Hollywood Records

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Grand Theft Auto 4 has blown away Hollywood video game records as its masterminds reported that it has taken in a whopping $US500 million 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 $US196 million 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 theatres 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.

In Australia, because there is no R18+ rating for video games, Rockstar Games was forced to tone down some of the more extreme content before it could be sold here under the MA15+ rating.

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 $US2 billion offer from EA and delayed talk of negotiation until after the release of GTA: IV.

http://www.rockstargames.com/IV/

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