Black Ops shattered entertainment records this week when it raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale. Activision Blizzard has revealed its highly anticipated Call of Duty Black Ops game has earned $360 million in retail sales in its first 24 hours of sales alone. This makes the generally well-reviewed game whose debut beat out out sales of previous COD installation Modern Warfare 2 by 16% — one of the most lucrative launches of any game in history at a time when overall stores sales of games are in a slump.
The video game’s publisher Activision said the figures made Black Ops the highest-grossing entertainment launch ever, eclipsing Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters – even Avatar. Avatar took 15 years to make and reportedly cost more than $500m, including promotional costs. It took $27 million on its opening day and $77 million for its opening weekend. Hollywood’s best opening day effort belongs to The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which took in $US72.7 million dollars a year ago, according to Hollywood.com. Even the most production heavy video games – such as RockStar’s Red Dead Redemption – are made for under $100m.
The previous record holder for first day sales was the Black Ops predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Independent figures for US sales are not yet available but UK figures suggest Black Ops smashed the sales record set by its forerunner. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold 1.23 million units in the UK on its first day in November 2009, says Gfk, but Black Ops racked up 14% more. Revenues generated by sales of Black Ops were 22% higher. Publisher Activision said it expected Black Ops to beat the $550m (£340m) in revenue generated by Modern Warfare 2 in its first five days on sale.
Black Ops should generate more than $1bn in retail sales over the holiday period, said Colin Sebastian, analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, noting that this would rival sales of past entertainment bestsellers from Titanic to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. “This is a blockbuster – the Lord of the Rings of games,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, games analyst at the Screen Digest research group. “Call of Duty has established itself as a true pop-culture phenomenon,” said Thomas Tippl, chief operating officer of Activision Blizzard, at BMO Capital Markets’ 18th annual Digital Entertainment conference. “We never seem to be surprised by who plays Call of Duty, because it’s everyone — there’s a soldier in all of us.”
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