‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’ racks up big sales

Above, a scene from "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3." (Photo credit: Activision)

Above, a scene from “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.” (Photo credit: Activision)

By David Pierson
Los Angeles Times

The biggest weekend blockbuster of the year was a video game.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops III” reached $550 million in worldwide sales the first three days after its launch Friday, according to Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc.

That’s more than double Hollywood’s biggest weekend winner, “Jurassic World,” which scored $209 million when it opened June 12, according to Boxofficemojo.com, which tracks box-office sales.

It’s also more than the $400 million earned by Microsoft’s equally hyped video game “Halo 5: Guardians” during its first week after an Oct. 27 release.

“‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’ is the biggest entertainment launch this year in any medium, and bigger than any theatrical opening weekend ever,” Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s chief executive, said in a prepared statement.

The game, which is played on consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, retails for about $60.

The robust sales come amid an ambitious expansion drive for the popular game maker. Last week, Activision Blizzard announced a $5.9 billion deal to buy mobile game maker King Digital Entertainment, famous for its “Candy Crush” series.

It also said it would create its own television and movie studio and invest more in competitive video gaming, better known as e-sports.

“Call of Duty” is one of Activision Blizzard’s biggest franchises — a first-person military shooter that spans World War II and modern-day warfare.

The company said “Black Ops III” set a record for the franchise in “engagement.” Fans spent more than 75 million hours playing the game online the first three days.

“Black Ops II,” which was released in 2012, scored $500 million in sales the first 24 hours after it launched.

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