Based on pre-release tracking, most box-office observers believe The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 will open to at least $150 million this weekend, the third time the franchise will have accomplished the feat.
That would make The Hunger Games the first franchise to go three-for-three with the massive opening -- although distributor Lionsgate is playying it somewhat safe, projecting a range of $130 million-$150 million.
Two years ago, The Hunger Games was expected to open at around $75 million and surprised everyone with a $152 million opening weekend. Last year, The Hunger Games: Chasing Fire generated $158 million in its first frame.
Both films went on to make over $400 million, which would allow Mockingjay to surpass Guardians of the Galaxy as the year's biggest domestic hit. Neither film cracked $1 billion globally, meaning that they would need to improve somewhat significantly on previous installments to beat out Transformers: Age of Extinction as the year's biggest global box office success.
So far this year, Transformers was also the only film to pass a $100 million opening weekend. It's generally been a slow year compared to recent ones.
If there is one potential obstacle to the film opening above $150 million, it's that they split up the third and final book in the franchise. While it didn't impact their opening weekend (or at least not significantly), The Hobbit, Harry Potter and Twilight all stumbled somewhat, making less in their second-to-last outings than they had in their previous installment. Both Potter and Twilight recovered and their final installment was the biggest for the franchise. The third and final Hobbit film will be released later this year.