Video game movies rarely work out well at the box office.
Historically, video game movies don't do well. They're like anime movies. Typically, it involves a lot of plot condensing, or reaching to make the plot work within the confines of the subject matter. Then, you've got to do all that while making to studios happy. In this case, that'll be whoever is backing this movie on top of Polyphony Digital and Sony, the latter of which is now beginning to dabble in making EVs. Needless to say, making a Gran Turismo movie work is going to be a tall order. It'll have to tell a compelling story while showcasing hot new cars like the Nissan Z, which is evidently going to be hard not to make look like a cheap marketing campaign.
Yet some brave soul is trying to make it happen anyway. Announced at this year's Game Awards, Neill Blomkamp is going to have a run at a Gran Turismo movie, set to debut on August 11, 2023.
Honestly, this plot is going to be tough to develop. Making a Need for Speed movie work was pretty simple, largely because the creators were able to flow in the whole "doing crimes in fast cars" thing a-la The Fast and the Furious. That's not an option here. Gran Turismo is a sim-racing game. It's for people with racing wheels and headsets and gloves and a knowledge of how in-game tire pressures work that non-gamers might call unhealthy. Turning that into a movie will be a challenge, to say the least.
Apparently, the story will follow a teenage Gran Turismo player on their journey to become a pro racing driver. It sounds a bit like Ready Player One meets Days of Thunder. Thankfully, Blomkamp is an accomplished name, with titles like District 9 and Chappie under his belt, he might be able to work magic with this GT movie.
Then there's the fact this film will, at its core, be about cars. The car hobby is a niche one. Sure, it's a massive, multi-billion dollar industry, but enthusiasts are a fickle bunch. The thing that makes films like Rush and Ford v Ferrari work is that the cars are only a plot device.
Instead, the real story is the drama surrounding the humans in the film: The clash of Niki Lauda and James Hunt's personalities, or the story of Ken Miles and Carrol Shelby's crusade against big bad Enzo Ferrari and the naysayers at Ford. If the film fails to capitalize on the human struggle of becoming a pro racing driver, it'll just come off as a marketing stunt.