Voices behind GTA 4 characters denied royalties

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV made over $500 million during its first week, catapulting it to become the biggest entertainment release of all time. After clearly making all of its money back, you would think there would be a standard to dish out extra money for the people who were the in-game mouthpieces. Michael Hollick, who did the voice work for Niko Bellic as well as motion capture animation, apparently was paid $100,000 for his 15 months of work between late 2006 and 2008 according to The New York Times. However, he is not entitled to any additional royalties no matter how much money the game makes. Hollick said in an interview with the newspaper, “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.”

Hollick’s main gripe is with the union for failing to take the financial interests of the actors to mind. A lawyer in the entertainment industry doesn’t agree with Hollick. Ezra J. Doner said, “What drives video games is not Tracy and Hepburn; what drives it is the conception of the creative director. The actor whose appearance or voice is used is more analogous to a session music for a band. The session musicians don’t get residuals on the sales of the CD. They get paid a session fee.”

Other actors who are unsatisfied to say the least is the voice of Patrick McReary played by Ryan Johnston. He made about $1050 a day for his efforts. While it may seem like one heck of a payday for a lot of us, in the long run its a small drop in a water bucket filled with hundred dollar bills. Jason Zumwalt who played Roman, took his displeasure to YouTube in a rather comical way. At least I think he meant for it to be comical. Judge for yourselves:

[See also: Grand Theft Auto IV gallery]

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