Next 'Call of Duty' Expected to Break Sales Records
Watch out Avatar, Toy Story, Shrek and every other huge-selling DVD, because when the latest installment of the video game Call of Duty is released next week, it "is likely to be the biggest entertainment launch of all time."
That includes movies, and it comes straight from the horse's mouth: Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call of Duty: Black Ops, which hits store shelves Tuesday.
While bold, Kotick's prediction isn't out of character. He claimed a year ago that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the biggest entertainment launch in history after it sold 4.7 million copies in North America and the U.K. in the first 24 hours, generating $310 million in sales. So, if Black Ops outperforms that, Activision Blizzard will be breaking a record it already holds, at least according to its own calculations.
And Kotick isn't likely to be challenged on such assertions because several studios contacted Wednesday wouldn't share data about their best-selling home video titles.
As for theatrical releases, The Dark Knight is king domestically, raking in $158.4 million in its opening weekend. But Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince brought in $394 million in its worldwide opening weekend debut.
Kotick wouldn't get on the phone with The Hollywood Reporter to say whether Black Ops might boast such a revenue figure on its first weekend.
Kotick made his Black Ops' comments during a conference call with analysts to discuss impressive quarterly earnings. He also raised guidance for the full year.
He said the company is seeing for Black Ops a "level of interest and enthusiasm beyond what we've seen in any medium."
Net income at Activision Blizzard more than tripled to $51 million in the third quarter on revenue that was up 6% to $745 million.
Some highlights during the quarter included the launches of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
Besides Black Ops, the company also has World of Warcraft: Cataclysm on deck this quarter, also expected to do brisk business.
Activision Blizzard shares were up 1.5% on Wednesday to $11.63 and unchanged in after-hours trading.