Microsoft today announced that Halo 3 raked in estimated $170 million in sales in the United States alone in its first 24 hours of availability. That performance puts the Xbox 360-exclusive game on top of previous records set by blockbuster movie releases including Spider-Man 3 and novels such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Microsoft did not divulge how much of that income came from pre-orders versus “casual” game purchases, but the company did say that more than 1.7 million copies of Halo 3 were preordered in the United States before a single store opened its doors.
More than 10,000 retailers hosted Midnight Madness events to celebrate the launch of this third installment in the franchise. In New York, Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles, Microsoft and retail partners hosted events that featured contests and appearances by celebrities and athletes including Ludacris and Zac Efron and Bill Gates.