You might be surprised to hear that the 'Biggest Entertainment Opening Weekend of 2015' doesn't belong to a movie, but to a video game. More specifically, Activision's slick future shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
The year will undoubtedly be remembered for J.J. Abrams's pop culture phenomenon Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned an impressive global box office debut of $529 million. But even that galactic-sized number wasn't enough to beat out Black Ops III, racking up more than $550 million during its first three days of release. Video games 1, Hollywood 0.
Activision proudly announced their Star-Wars-surpassing performance during their fourth quarter 2015 conference call, later releasing the following statement:
ACTIVISION PUBLISHING’S CALL OF DUTY FRANCHISE REVENUES GREW DOUBLE DIGITS YEAR‐OVER‐YEAR BOTH FOR THE FULL YEAR AND IN Q4, ENDING THE QUARTER WITH THE HIGHEST MAUSA IN FRANCHISE HISTORY. THE STRONG PERFORMANCE WAS DRIVEN BY CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III, WHICH HAD THE BIGGEST ENTERTAINMENT OPENING WEEKEND OF 2015, AND WAS THE #1 CONSOLE GAME GLOBALLY FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR. CALL OF DUTY WAS THE #1 FRANCHISE IN NORTH AMERICA FOR THE SEVENTH YEAR IN A ROW.
While this feat is by no means something to sniff at, it's important to remember that The Force Awakens is still the bigger money-maker here, especially if you were to include revenue generated by merchandise.
The world-dominating FPS franchise continues to maintain its vice-like grip on the industry. This year Black Ops III tipped the franchise over the 250 million sales milestone; a record beaten only by Pokémon (275 million) and Nintendo's Super Mario series (310 million).
2015's Best Selling Games
So which other video games made it into the annual sales charts? The Witcher 3? Metal Gear Solid V? Well, shockingly, neither of those stellar titles even made it into the Top 10.
2015 NPD Results:
- 1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
- 2. Madden NFL 16
- 3. Fallout 4
- 4. Star Wars: Battlefront
- 5. Grand Theft Auto V
- 6. NBA 2K16
- 7. Minecraft
- 8. FIFA 16
- 9. Mortal Kombat X
- 10. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty shows no sign of slowing down. Activision also recently announced that Infinity Ward, the developer responsible for the terrific Modern Warfare trilogy, will be returning to the franchise with a "new innovative Call of Duty title." Can they keep the momentum going throughout 2016?
Will gaming usurp Hollywood as the world's largest entertainment industry?