A new title will soon top the list of most profitable entertainment franchises, and it never earned a single dollar at the box office. Grand Theft Auto, the immensely popular video game series, has already earned more than Avatar and Titanic- the two highest-grossing films of all time- combined.
Only the Harry Potter franchise, which grossed $7.7 billion, has earned more than the game that recently released its fifth installment in a series whose earnings already total more than $5.45 billion, according to Newsweek.
As the Potter series reached its conclusion in print and on screen, Grand Theft Auto will soon exceed the boy wizard series earnings. The controversial crime video game, in which players must steal cars and evade police, earned $800 million on the first day of its mid-September “GTA5” release alone. By day three it had already reached $1 billion in sales.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board assigned the game a “Mature” rating for “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol.”
The New York-based company that owns the franchise, Take-Two Interactive, reported in November of 2012 that its first four installments of the game combined to sell 125 million copies. This year’s game has sold 17,250,000 copies in its first month on the market, grossing $1.54 billion.
Avatar, by comparison, earned a total of $2.8 billion worldwide, while Titanic raked in $2.2 billion. The third-most profitable movie ever, The Avengers, made $1.5 billion. Earnings for the entire Lord of the Rings series totaled $2.9 billion.
Grand Theft Auto V was released five years after its predecessor, and game stores opened their doors for a midnight release to fans eagerly awaiting the latest installment. Take Two’s stock took a hit last winter when its subsidiary, Rockstar Games, announced the game’s original release date would be delayed, but the anticipation seems to have helped GTA’s unprecedented sales.