For Actor, Grand Theft Auto Doesn't Pay

Gaming companies refuse to dole out royalties
By Michael Foreman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 6:05 PM CDT

He has gained fame and exposure as the voice of sly Balkan criminal Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV. But actor Michael Hollick would rather see a royalty check from Rockstar Games, reports the New York Times. Though the game has raked in roughly $600 million so far, Hollick earned $100,000 for his gritty voice work and, unlike his compatriots in film or TV, will get no residuals or royalties.

"I don’t blame Rockstar," says Hollick. "I blame our union for not having the agreements in place to protect the creative people who drive the sales of these games." Expect the issue to be resurface in contract talks, not just for actors, but for designers and programmers as well. One entertainment lawyer compared game actors to session musicians, not big-name stars such as Tom Cruise. (More Grand Theft Auto IV stories.)

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