Hunger Games tracking points to blockbuster franchise for Lionsgate

The Canadian producer could be on track for an opening weekend bigger than the latest Twilight franchise release.

A Canadian producer is set to debut a movie with the prospect of delivering one of the biggest North American opening weekends of all time.

We’re talking about Vancouver-based Lionsgate and its upcoming theatrical release of The Hunger Games on over 3,000 screens from March 23 after a Los Angeles world premiere.

Tracking data for Hunger Games unveiled Monday by NRG indicated the Lionsgate tentpole has a whopping 83% awareness rate.

NRG said 88% of women under 25 were aware of Hunger Games – and it’s not a sequel, but rather based on a blockbuster teen novel series.

Even better news for Lionsgate is that 85% of young men under 25 were aware of next week’s release of the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ book series, not just teen women.

Tracking, of course, measures how effective the studio marketing campaign has been for Lionsgate.

What about the likelihood that awareness will convert to box office for Hunger Games at the local multiplex?

Tracking by the NRG firm revealed interest in the blockbuster film by young women under 25 years was 45 percent, compared to 36 percent for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which was released in November 2011 as a sequel.

As for predicted box office, the NRG tracking data has industry forecasts of $100 million to $120 million for the opening weekend of Hunger Games, and some predictions that Lionsgate’s tentpole release will surpass the latest Breaking Dawn debut of $138.1 million last November.