Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II had a massive debut, bringing in more than $800 million globally in “sell-through” after its first three days following release on October 28.
This makes Modern Warfare II the “No. 1 top-selling opening weekend ever” for the Call of Duty franchise, eclipsing the previous record-holder, which was 2011’s Modern Warfare 3. That was for a five-day record, compared to the three-day record cited in Activision’s announcement today.
Modern Warfare II’s $800 million in three days is a huge figure, but it’s not a record for video games. All the way back in 2013, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V generated $1 billion in revenue in its first three days. For another point of comparison, Bethesda’s Fallout 4 shipped 12 million copies and drove $750 million in revenue over its first 24 hours alone. Importantly, though, Fallout 4’s $750 million in one day represented units shipped and not necessarily sold, whereas the Modern Warfare II $800 million figure covers units that were actually sold to consumers.
Activision said in a news release that Modern Warfare II’s $800 million in revenue surpasses the biggest box office openings of the year in the world of film, even outpacing the opening weekend box office numbers for Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness combined.
This is not a perfect, fair, or complete comparison, however, as the film and video game businesses are vastly different, with all manner of differences in terms of reporting on revenue and profitability. In any event, Modern Warfare II clearly had a momentous, record-breaking launch for Activision.
“Thank you to our talented team that has created magic through extraordinary artistry and technology, and to the global community of players who find joy and connection through Call of Duty.This milestone belongs to them,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said.
Activision also said Modern Warfare II set new “player participation franchise records” for unique players and hours played during the game’s first three days of “premium release.” That likely refers to how Modern Warfare II’s campaign launched early on October 20 for people who preordered.
“Thank you, Call of Duty players, for making Modern Warfare II’s launch one for the record books as well as the highest grossing entertainment opening of the year. It is our honor and privilege to deliver such a historic launch weekend for the best fans in the world,” Call of Duty GM Johanna Faries said. “As amazing as this opening has been,Call of Duty has much more in store. An unprecedented level of support for theModern Warfare universe is on the horizon and Warzone 2.0’s launch is right around the corner. It’s an incredible time for the franchise.”
For more on Modern Warfare II, check out GameSpot’s Modern Warfare II campaign and multiplayer reviews.