GTA IV Not Big Money Maker For Star Actors

Posted on September 15, 2008

The New York Times has an interesting article about Michael Hollick, an aspiring actor who received his big break acting in a video game. That video game is the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV. Hollick plays Niko Bellic in the video game. Hollick has also appeared in a few Law and Order's according to the actors IMDB listing. Despite generating hundreds of millions in sales Hollick received only a tiny piece of the GTA IV pie. Hollick's take was just $100,000 according to the Times article.

Had this been a television program, a film, an album, a radio show or virtually any other sort of traditional recorded performance, Mr. Hollick and the other actors in the game would have made millions by now. As it stands, they get nothing beyond the standard Screen Actors Guild day rate they were originally paid.

That is because the contracts between the actors' union and the entertainment industry make little or no provision for electronic media like video games and the Internet. It is a discrepancy that is expected to dominate negotiations between Hollywood and the guild this summer, with many predicting an actors' strike to parallel the writers' strike last year, which revolved around similar issues.

Hollick tells the Times, "Obviously I'm incredibly thankful to Rockstar for the opportunity to be in this game when I was just a nobody, an unknown quantity. But it's tough, when you see Grand Theft Auto IV out there as the biggest thing going right now, when they're making hundreds of millions of dollars, and we don't see any of it. I don't blame Rockstar. I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games. Yes, the technology is important, but it's the human performances within them that people really connect to, and I hope actors will get more respect for the work they do within those technologies."

It does sound like the actors' union has a lot of work to do when it comes to video game contracts. Michael Hollick's official website can be found here.

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