More than 5 million copies of Red Dead Redemption have been shrink-wrapped and shipped to retailers across North America and Europe since the game's May 18 release -- and, presumably, folks are buying 'em. Publisher Take-Two announced the mailing milestone today, amidst its quarterly earnings, celebrating the commercial and critical success of Rockstar's little Western that could.

Just five months ago Red Dead Redemption appeared doomed. At that time, an anonymous Rockstar source told us, "It will take 4 million sales at full price to recoup the development costs of Red Dead. The good news is they are not expecting to make money with Red Dead Redemption." The accuracy of that estimate notwithstanding, today's shipment announcement suggests that Take-Two and Rockstar now expect to enjoy strong, continued sales of Red Dead.

Of course, let's not get too celebratory over a measly 5 million shipped. As if to put the upstart Western in its place, Take-Two also revealed today Grand Theft Auto IV's lifetime global numbers: 17 million sold.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.