Everyone knows that GTA IV is going to be big -- even though it might not be big enough to help publisher Take-Two (TTWO) fend off Electronic Arts.
But just how big is it, really? It will likely surpass Halo 3's (MSFT) one-week total of $300 million in sales. And it may ring up $450 million in sales this year, predicts Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.
But while video games are supposed to be the new movie business, they're not there yet -- at least not in terms of raw dollars.
Compare GTA IV's take to the international box office receipts for blockbuster movies. If GTA was a movie, it would be 77th on boxofficemojo.com's list. Just behind "Ocean's Eleven" and just ahead of "Pearl Harbor." And three slots behind "National Treasure: Book Of Secrets" which came out last winter and apparently grossed $456 million, even though we don't know a living soul who's seen it.
Most important: After gamers plunk down $60 or so for GTA IV, they're just about done spending money. But ticket sales are only a portion of a movie's overall revenue stream, and they're not the biggest one, either. So when you gaze at the the numbers below, keep in mind that they're underestimating the films' overall haul.