The latest installment of the blockbuster video game "Call of Duty" raked in more than $500 million in the first 24 hours, making it "the biggest entertainment launch of the year," its publisher said Friday.
Activision Blizzard said "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" was an instant hit as it launched this week, with some fans waiting for the midnight release at 16,000 retailers around the globe from Sydney to Dubai to Paris to Los Angeles.
"With first day sales of over half a billion dollars worldwide, we believe Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment launch of the year for the fourth year in a row," said Bobby Kotick, chief executive at Activision Blizzard.
"Life-to-date 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. Given the challenged macro-economic environment, we remain cautious about the balance of 2012 and 2013."
The company said "Black Ops II" also was a top trending topic globally on Twitter in 23 cities worldwide and drew some 30 million YouTube video views of the game's launch trailer.
"Call of Duty has become more than a product people buy, it's a brand people buy into," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing.
"And every November we do more than just the launch of a game, we kick off an annual, unofficial but worldwide phenomenon called the Call of Duty season.
The game notably has a starring role for David Petraeus, the former general who in real life was forced out as head of the CIA in a sex scandal.
In the game, Petraeus is US Secretary of Defense in a fictional near-future, serving under a woman president who resembles Hillary Clinton.
The game, and the role of Petraeus, was created well before the sex scandal erupted last week around the retired four-star US general who headed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.