Microsoft has announced that its Halo 3 has sold an estimated $170 million in its first day, making it "the biggest entertainment launch in history," noting that it has now beat out opening day theatrical releases of Spider-Man 3 and novels like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The sales are generally in line with analyst expectations, with Lazard analyst Colin Sebastian estimating sales would quickly reach $200 million. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter stated that he anticipates that the title will be September's top release, expecting sales of over 3 million units in its first 12 days.
The game took more than 1.7 million copies in preorder sales, Microsoft says, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-orders for Halo 2. The release has garnered praise from retailers as well, with GameStop merchandising VP Bob McKenzie saying in Microsoft's release that the title is expected to be "the biggest video game title generator in GameStop's history." Again labeling the release a "pop-culture phenomenon," Microsoft Game Studios VP Shane Kim said, "Not only is Halo 3 setting sales records, it's also redefining entertainment. Within the first 20 hours alone, we've seen more than a million Xbox LIVE members come online to play Halo 3 – that makes September 25 the most active Xbox LIVE gaming day in history."