Like just about everywhere else in the world, Halo 3 set new sales records following its launch in Australia, surpassing the previous first-day entertainment launch record held by the third movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King.

Over 50,000 copies of the game had been sold in the first 24 hours of its release, bringing in $5.3 million in sales and handily beating the $4.7 million earned by Return of the King in the first day of its 2003 release. While the numbers are minuscule compared to the $170 million earned over the same span in the U.S., it represents a significant portion of the Australian market. GfK analyst Daniel Morse said, “50,000 units is a lot of units. That means one in four Xbox 360 owners bought this game on its first day.”

Even Australian Prime Minister John Howard got in the action, appearing at a youth center in Sydney to donate an Xbox 360 bundle. Howard took the opportunity to try out the game for himself, talk a little smack and hopefully raise his profile and score some political points with young voters as he faces an election before the end of the year. A four-term Prime Minister, Howard is facing increasing discontent with his leadership as he approaches his quest for a fifth mandate.

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