Movies no match for Call of Duty

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By David Pier­son

THE big­gest week­end block­buster of 2015? A video game. Call of Duty: Black Ops III reached $550 mil­lion in world­wide sales the first three days af­ter its launch on Nov. 6, ac­cord­ing to Santa Monica-based Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard Inc.

That’s more than dou­ble Hol­ly­wood’s big­gest week­end win­ner, Juras­sic World, which scored $209 mil­lion when it opened June 12, ac­cord­ing to Box­of­fice­mojo.com, which tracks box­of­fice sales.

It’s also more than the $400 mil­lion earned by Mi­crosoft’s equally hyped video game Halo 5: Guardians dur­ing its first week af­ter an Oct. 27 release.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the big­gest en­ter­tain­ment launch this year in any medium, and big­ger than any the­atri­cal open­ing week­end ever,” Bobby Kotick, Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in a state­ment.

The game, which is played on con­soles such as the PlaySta­tion 4 and Xbox One, re­tails for about $60.

The ro­bust sales come amid an am­bi­tious ex­pan­sion drive for the pop­u­lar game maker. Last week, Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard an­nounced a $5.9-bil­lion deal to buy mo­bile game maker King Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment, fa­mous for its Candy Crush se­ries.

It also said it would cre­ate its own tele­vi­sion and movie stu­dio and in­vest more in com­pet­i­tive video gam­ing, bet­ter known as e-sports.

Call of Duty is one of Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard’s big­gest fran­chises — a first-per­son mil­i­tary shooter that spans Sec­ond World War and mod­ern-day war­fare.

The com­pany said Black Ops III set a record for the fran­chise in “en­gage­ment.” Fans spent more than 75 mil­lion hours play­ing the game on­line the first three days.

Black Ops II, which was re­leased in 2012, scored $500 mil­lion in sales the first 24 hours af­ter it launched.

AC­TIVI­SION / TNS

Call of Duty: Black Ops III made $550 mil­lion in its open­ing week­end,

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