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]