CATEGORIES Movies, Box Office

hunger games catching fire box officeLionsgate

The release of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is rapidly approaching, and that means it's time for some box office speculation. According to a pair of reports from Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, things are looking very good for the "Hunger Games" sequel.

First, Deadline reports that studio Lionsgate is projecting an opening weekend for "Catching Fire" in the $140 to $150 million range domestically, just under the first film's $152.5 million bow in March 2012. Those numbers put it on track to easily beat current November debut record holder "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which raked in $142.8 million in 2009.

But according to THR, those estimates are conservative, to say the least. Noting that "New Moon" earned more than twice what its predecessor took in ("Twilight" grossed $69.9 million in 2008), THR says "Catching Fire" has the potential to eclipse "Hunger Games," projecting its total "could easily cross the $175 million mark in its debut."

If "Catching Fire" does indeed cross that threshold, it could claim the second-highest opening weekend gross of all time, just edging out "Iron Man 3" ($174.1 million) and coming in behind "The Avengers" ($207.4 million). And if those whopping numbers weren't enough, THR also says that "more bullish observers" are placing "Catching Fire"'s potential total at more than $190 million.

At this point, it's safe to say the sequel will most definitely make boatloads of money; just how much is up to audiences.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" hits theaters November 22.

[via Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter]