The Hollywood Reporter is not fooled by Microsoft’s PR spinners’ claim that first-day sales of ‘Halo 3‘ is “the biggest entertainment launch in history,” noting in the article (which it nevertheless made an e-mail bulletin of) that:
“Halo” not only passed the opening-day boxoffice record of $59.8 million set by Sony’s “Spider-Man 3” in May, its one-day haul Tuesday also vaulted it ahead of Spidey’s three-day opening-weekend record of $151 million.
However, the unit sales of “Halo 3” were overshadowed by those of J.K. Rowling’s novel “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” when it was published in July. “Hallows” sold 8.3 million copies in the U.S. during its first 24 hours. Microsoft did not supply unit sales but did note that more than 1.7 million copes [sic!] were preordered.
‘Copes’?!? OK, so the paper version of the Boy Wizard trumps the helmeted alien exterminator, though Microsoft must be gloating that the film whose weekend takings they trumpeted was made by the same studio whose parent company make the rival PS3 game console. But Halo 3’s sales was impressive and Microsoft knew that they had a blockbuster hit on their hands and launched it like a proper film at London’s BFI IMAX cinema (message: “This is WAY bigger than a regular film, so we need a screen that is way bigger.”) There is good blogging from the launch event here, where we’ve also taken the picture above from.
However, here is the point about games vs. cinema. Cinema is an expensive way to advertise films – which typically make less than 20 per cent of their life-time earnings at the box office – for when they come out on DVD. But when ‘Halo 3’ comes out on DVD….oops, that’s how it gets sold already. And there are no ancillary platforms for games, if you don’t count PSP or Nintendo DS hand held consoles. Now if you want a proper discussions, tell me which is typically worse, games made into films or films turned into games.