POSTED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 7:35am
UPDATED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 1:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Screaming fans are one predictor. Book sales in the tens of millions are another.
Tonight's launch of "The Hunger Games" is expected to be big.
"The fervor that we're seeing already for this film, certainly mimics what we saw for the very
first Twilight film," notes Entertainment Weekly senior editor Thom Geier.
That vampire romance series also sprang from a succession of best selling books, ones with largely female appeal.
While "The Hunger Games" has a teen heroine at its core, romance takes a back seat to action.
Geier says "Hunger Games"'s darker, edgier storyline will likely get more males into the
"It could become an exponentially bigger film as a result," he predicts.
Online ticket seller Fandango says its already sold out more than 2,000 screenings
nationwide, the most ever for a non-sequel.
"What we call this is basically a four quadrant movie. Moviegoers over 25 and under 25, male and female," says Hollywood.com box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Dergarabedian says that will mean summer blockbuster type business this weekend.
"The last Twilight movie, "Breaking Dawn Part One" opened with $138.1 million. I think this could do that one better," he says.
The box office chase begins with midnight screenings tonight.
Meanwhile, the film's soundtrack is already off to a strong start.
Featuring songs from Sting, Taylor Swift, and Maroon 5, it's already a top seller on iTunes and on Amazon.com.