Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Sets Launch Day Sales Record, Outguns Star Wars

Paul Lilly

With the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Activision Publishing is once again walking tall, earning and burning, snapping necks and cashing checks, or something like that (NSFW) . It's not the Catalina Wine Mixer, but according to Activision, MW3 has become the "biggest entertainment launch ever" with first day sales exceeding $400 million and more than 6.5 million units in the U.S.

Activision is quick to point out that this is the third consecutive year the Call of Duty franchise has set a day one launch record, not just in videogames, but for all forms of entertainment in any medium. Black Ops notched first day sales figures of $360 million in 2010, and Modern Warfare 2 raked in $310 million on the first day, according to figures Activision cited from Charttrack.

"We believe the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories," said Bobby Kotick , CEO, Activision Blizzard, Inc. "Other than Call of Duty, there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings,' two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time."

To that extent, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg has a leg to stand on in claiming that Call of Duty "is more than a game. It's become a major part of the pop cultural landscape."

In a separate announcement, Activision said it donated $3 million to the Call of Duty Endowment on Veterans Day. The organization is a non-profit outfit that provides job placement and training for veterans. The $3 million donation is on top of $2 million Activision already gave since it was conceived by Bobby Kotick in November 2009.

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