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'Halo: Reach' earns $200 mil in first-day sales

Marks biggest U.S. entertainment launch of the year

NEW YORK -- "Halo: Reach," Microsoft's prequel to one of the video game industry's biggest franchises, recorded more than $200 million in sales in the U.S. and Europe on its first day.

Microsoft late Wednesday highlighted that the sales for the first 24 hours make "Halo: Reach" not only its biggest game release ever, but also the biggest U.S. entertainment launch of the year. Its one-day gross exceeded the opening weekend box-office hauls of Hollywood blockbusters such as "Iron Man 2," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Toy Story 3," the company emphasized.

The new game, which hit stores Tuesday, also exceeded the previous "Halo's" first-day haul of $170 million, which had set an opening record in 2007. But it fell short of the record $310 million in sales set last year by "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

"Reach" is an Xbox 360-only title, while the Activision Blizzard game got a multiplatform release, so the lower figure isn't unexpected.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter had expected the new "Halo" release to kick off with as much as $220 million-plus on its first day.

The "Halo" franchise had sold more than 34 million copies worldwide and grossed nearly $2 billion before the latest installment's launch, making it the best-selling Xbox and Xbox 360 game brand and one of the top-grossing gaming franchises of all time.