New 'Call of Duty' Reaches $1 Billion Faster Than 'Avatar'

Video Game Only Needs 15 Days to Billion-Dollar Mark

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"Call of Duty: Black Ops II," the latest installment in Activision Blizzard Inc.'s best-selling video-game franchise, topped $1 billion in retail sales within its first 15 days of release.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops II,' topped $1 billion in retail sales in 15 days.
'Call of Duty: Black Ops II,' topped $1 billion in retail sales in 15 days. Credit: Activision Blizzard

The sales figure, which relies on Chart-Track retail data, means "Call of Duty" reached $1 billion faster than the movie "Avatar," the record holder for feature films, Activision said today in a statement.

It also hit a billion dollars faster than last year's "Black Ops" -- by one day.

"Since 'Call of Duty' was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top 10 grossing films of 2012 combined," Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said in the statement. "Sales for the 'Call of Duty' franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for 'Harry Potter' and 'Star Wars,' the two most successful movie franchises of all time."

Activision, the world's largest video-game seller, is counting on new titles to maintain growth after topping third-quarter profit and revenue estimates last quarter. Sales had flagged last year, hurt by the sluggish economy and a rise in games that are free to play.

The company booked some well-known stars to promote "Black Ops II," releasing a spot created out of 72andSunny featuring Robert Downey Jr. in his first North American TV ad, French movie star Omar Sy and web comedienne iJustine. The commercial was directed by Guy Ritchie, Mr. Downey's director in the "Sherlock Holmes" films.

Activision spent $343 million on global advertising last year, according to regulatory filings.

~Bloomberg News and Ad Age staff~

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