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Black Ops 2 nets best entertainment launch of 2012 with over $500 million in first-day sales

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Nov. 13 launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 continued the franchise's staggering sales success with more than $500 million in sales worldwide during its first 24 hours of release, making it the biggest entertainment launch of 2012, Activision announced today.

Halo 4 held the record for one week: Microsoft tallied more than $220 million of sales on its launch date, Nov. 6.

This marks the fourth consecutive year in which a Call of Duty game has eclipsed all previous entertainment launches of the year. Each of the three previous titles — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011), Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — was the highest-selling piece of entertainment in its year of release.

However, Activision is not yet extrapolating the launch-day sales of Black Ops 2 to estimate lifetime sales numbers. "Given the challenged macro-economic environment, we remain cautious about the balance of 2012 and 2013," said chief executive Bobby Kotick in an investor release announcing the launch details.

Activision also pointed out that lifetime sales of the Call of Duty franchise have now surpassed the worldwide theatrical grosses of both the Star Wars and Harry Potter series, the top-grossing film franchises of all time.

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