The countdown has officially kicked into high gear for The Hunger Games' March 23rd release date. Between the (incredibly awesome) new teaser clip that hit the web recently and the wildly popular mall tour that's currently underway, fan anticipation has reached a fever pitch . . . and I'm sure that's just how Lionsgate likes it.
Now that advance tickets for the film are available through Fandango, it's clear that a massively successful opening weekend is in the works. Fandango is reporting that they sold more first day tickets for Hunger Games than any other movie in the company’s 12 year history.
Oh yes: even more than a certain movie starring a certain sparkly vampire. Could this mean that the Hunger Games franchise is going to be an even bigger hit than the Twilight series?
Well, it's possible, but it's certainly not going to be easy: 2009's New Moon pulled down an astounding $142.7 million during its opening weekend, while Breaking Dawn Part 1 was right behind with $138.1 million. However, Hunger Games is already ahead in terms of advance ticket sales—the first-day sales record was previously held by Eclipse.
Box office analysts are predicting that Hunger Games will top the $100 million mark on its opening weekend, which would make it one of the biggest releases of the year. That wouldn't be quite on par with the New Moon/Breaking Dawn numbers, but keep in mind that Hunger Games is the first of the series. The first Twilight movie only made $69.6 million in 2008.
Now, I think Hunger Games will have a broader appeal than the Twilight series. I predict that the acting will be superior, the storyline will be stronger, it has a better chance at receiving critical acclaim, and it won't be primarily limited to a female audience.
Never underestimate the power of a dreamboat, though. Will Peeta or Gale live up to the Team Edward/Team Jacob insanity? Boy, it's hard to say, but I kind of doubt it. The scenes that made some of us eye-roll the Twilight films—Jacob constantly ripping off his shirt, Edward moodily struggling to keep his bloodsucking tendencies at bay—were the exact things that drove teen fans into an absolute frenzy. I'm just not sure if a non-supernatural guy can generate the same devotion, you know?
At any rate, it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. I have a feeling that no matter where they land in the record books, Hunger Games is going to have a very, very profitable opening weekend. In fact, if you were planning to see it on March 23rd, you'd better hurry and get your ticket—because at the rate they're going, they're going to sell out soon.
Do you think Hunger Games has a shot at beating the Twilight sales?
Images via IMDB