Rockstar Games could have capitalized on the peak of Eminem's popularity in the early 2000s with a live-action adaptation featuring the multi-Grammy Award-winning rapper. However, for some reason, the long-time developers of the best-selling video game franchise declined to do it.
According to Kirk Ewing, Sam Houser turned down a $5 million offer for Tony Scott to come in and direct a film starring Eminem and based on Grand Theft Auto, just after Grand Theft Auto III came out in 2001.
[The agent] said, ‘Kirk, we’ve got Eminem to star, and it’s a Tony Scott film. $5 million on the nose. Are you interested?’” Ewing said. “And I phoned up Sam and I said: ‘Listen to this. They want Eminem in the Grand Theft Auto movie and Tony Scott to direct.’ And he said: ‘Not interested’ … They realized that the media franchise that they had was bigger than any movie that was going on at the time.
At the time, Eminem was fresh off a Best Rap Album, Best Rap Solo Performance win at the 2001 GRAMMYs after releasing The Marshall Mathers LP a year earlier. Eminem then debuted in his first Hollywood film a year later with 8 Mile. His performance later led to an Academy Award win for Best Original Song with "Lose Yourself."
The GTA franchise has gone on to become very successful in the decades since GTA III came out. In Take-Two Interactive's most recent earnings report, it revealed that Grand Theft Auto V has sold 170 million copies already.
As for a film, Rockstar nor Take-Two has shown signs it will adopt Grand Theft Auto for the big screen. The developers are currently busy working on GTA 6, which it confirmed earlier this year and was the subject of one of the biggest leaks in gaming history.