LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – MARCH 14: Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth attend the European premiere of The Hunger Games at O2 Arena on March 14, 2012 in London, England. (Credit: Stuart Wilson, Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fans are so hungry for “The Hunger Games” that Hollywood’s buzzing about an opening weekend to rival the $140 million debuts of some of the “Twilight” movies.

Early tracking pegged “The Hunger Games” at only about half that much. But box-office forecasters have been continually revising their predictions upward based on audience awareness and advance ticket sales.

Opening Friday, “The Hunger Games” has a strong shot at shattering the record March debut of $116.1 million domestically for 2010′s “Alice in Wonderland.” It would be only the second movie opening in March to top $100 million in the first weekend. box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said “The Hunger Games” could approach the $130 million to $140 million level achieved by two of the “Twilight” flicks.

“The Hunger Games” may have an edge, too. Female fans drive “Twilight,” while “The Hunger Games” has strong interest from both sexes.

“Given that this is the first installment, there’s no precedent for what this movie could do. We don’t have a track record for ‘The Hunger Games,’” Dergarabedian said. “This is one of those movies that because of that appeal to virtually every kind of audience, it could exceed even our strongest expectations this weekend. But we just don’t know. Everybody’s speculating.”

A debut of $140 million would put “The Hunger Games” into the top-five on the all-time charts for domestic opening weekends.

At No. 1 is last year’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ ($169.2 million), followed by 2008′s “The Dark Knight” ($158.4 million); 2007′s “Spider-Man 3″ ($151.1 million); 2009′s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” ($142.8 million); and last fall’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1″ ($138.1 million).

Based on the first of three best-sellers by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” stars Jennifer Lawrence as a teenager hurled into a televised fight to the death among other youths in post-apocalyptic North America.

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