Directed by Neil Blomkamp, the Gran Turismo movie raced into theatres earlier this month in certain territories. Reviews were mixed, as some critics felt it was a glorified advert for the game.
However, the film's abundant product placement appears to be paying off because Gran Turismo 7’s player numbers have spiked since the film’s release.
Gran Turismo 7 player numbers up by 13%
As you’d expect for a film about a video game, the Gran Turismo movie has a lot of product placement. The opening act feels like a glorified advert for GT7 and Fanatec.
There's also an awkwardly delivered line where Jann Mardenborough played by Archie Madekwe waxes lyrical about how GT7 is “not a game, it's a racing simulator.” This product placement seems to be working because GT7's player numbers are up.
According to TrueTrophies, GT7’s PS5 and PS4 player count saw a 13.82% rise on the week of the Gran Turismo movie release between 7 and 13 August. In the PlayStation top 40 chart, GT7 moved up from 24 on 7 August to become the 19th most popular PlayStation game as of 13 August.
This indicates that the Gran Turismo movie is helping to raise the profile of sim racing. It's relatively small compared to the monumental 270% player boost The Last of Us Part 1 saw from the Emmy-nominated live-action HBO TV adaptation though.
However, GT7 has of the most popular racing games since it launched last March. Since it already has an active player base, the jump was never going to match The Last of Us.
As TrueTrophies points out, Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales and Dreams are the only PlayStation Studios titles with more active players in July and August. Dreams is a free PS Plus Essential title in August.
It’s a testament to its popularity that GT7 has had more active players than blockbuster PlayStation titles like God of War Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West, Ghost of Tsushima, Hogwarts Legacy, Resident Evil 4, and Elden Ring.
Gran Turismo movie off to a slow start
With GT7 player numbers up, the first Gran Turismo movie box office numbers are in, and it’s off to a slow start. According to Deadline, Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story has generated $22.7 million at the box office so far. Last week, ticket sales were down 37% at $6.3 million.
For comparison, Barbie and Oppenheimer have raked in a staggering $1.28 billion (!) and $718 million respectively, but both films were released several weeks earlier.
It's also worth noting that Gran Turismo hasn’t had a wide global release yet. Gran Turismo opened in UK and European theatres earlier this month, but the US theatrical release is delayed until 25 August due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA Strikes. It has also yet to have a general release in territories like Japan, Italy, and China.
Critic reviews have been scathing but audiences seem to love it, with a 98% Rotten Tomatoes audience score at the time of writing. Hopefully, this positive audience reception will boost box office numbers once the film gets a wider release.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Gran Turismo page.