Early reporting suggests that The Hunger Games got off to a very fast start on Thursday (as expected), with Variety putting the midnight box-office tallies for the anticipated adaptation somewhere “north of $25 million.” That validates predictions of “an outsized hit” for Lionsgate as the studio continues to track weekend receipts, according to the trade.

There are so many box-office records poised to fall if The Hunger Games lives up to expectations this weekend. Currently, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland holds the highest March weekend, notching $116.1 million back in 2010. Games has a very good shot at surpassing that mark. But don’t expect it to challenge the all-time highest-grossing weekend record, which currently belongs to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opened to a staggering $169.1M in July 2011.

Variety continues to compare Gary Ross’ opening Hunger Games salvo to The Twilight Saga, even though the two films are going after different audiences. The trade things Games could notch close to $30 million in midnights once the finalized number is announced, putting it in line with the Twilight saga’s most-recent release, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, which grabbed $30.3M in midnights on opening day.

Working in favor of Games: It’s opening in more theaters than Breaking Dawn: Part 1, scheduling both midnight at 3 a.m. screenings (as well as IMAX showings) that pushes its overall reach to approximately 4,100 theaters nationwide.

Needless to say, The Hunger Games is going to be huge. How huge? We’re still tracking. We’ll update with a final number once it has been published, then cover the repercussions of th film’s massive opening as the dust continues to settle.

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