Pre-orders for

Microsoft's

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Halo 2

video game have surpassed 1.5 million units in the U.S. -- three weeks before the title's much-anticipated debut.

With those record-breaking pre-orders, the sci-fi game is poised to generate more revenue in its first 24 hours than any full-feature movie has ever totaled in its first day in the theaters, the company said in a press release Tuesday.

Halo 2

goes on sale Nov. 9, but some gamers already have had a sneak peek at the game because a French version was leaked on the Internet late least week.

Halo

has been a key driver of Microsoft's Xbox game console sales because it is available only on that console. Microsoft has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide of the original

Halo: Combat Evolved

game, which launched near the end of 2001.

But

Halo 2

isn't the only big title to be released before the all-important holiday season; it's expected to share the attention with the next installment of

Take-Two Interactive's

(TTWO) - Get Report

hit

Grand Theft Auto

franchise, called

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

.

Rival

Sony's

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PlayStation 2, the top-selling video-game console, will benefit from the

Grand Theft Auto

launch -- Oct. 26 in North America and Oct. 29 in Europe -- because the game initially will be available only on Sony's console.

Take-Two does not disclose pre-order figures, a company spokesperson said Tuesday. However, more than 32 million

Grand Theft

games have been sold worldwide.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

will be the fifth installment in the franchise.

Microsoft shares inched up 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $28.44 in recent trading. Shares of Take-Two rose 33 cents, or 1%, to $35.