“The Hunger Games” fans aren’t just excited to see their beloved book hit the big screen. Some fans are nervous, too.

“‘Aragon’ was completely screwed up,” said Alyssa Acker, 20, of Chanute, Kan. “I’m worried that they’ll do the same to ‘Hunger Games.’”

But anticipation is outweighing apprehension for fans eager to see the movie adaptation of the first chapter of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy. In fact, Hollywood insiders say that by the time this week is done, the movie could have an opening weekend that rivals “Twilight.”

According to Associated Press reports, “The Hunger Games” has a strong shot at shattering the record March debut of $116.1 million domestically for 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland.” It would be only the second movie opening in March to top $100 million in the first weekend.

Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said “The Hunger Games” could approach the $130 million to $140 million level achieved by two of the “Twilight” flicks.

“The Hunger Games” may have an edge, too. Female fans drive “Twilight,” while “The Hunger Games” has strong interest from both sexes.

Mary Shurtleff, 31, of Carl Junction, was pretty sure Tuesday that she’d be going to see the movie with her boyfriend and daughter. It was her boyfriend that turned her on to the series.

“I told him that my daughter was reading ‘The Hunger Games,’ and he said that he’d read all of them,” Shurtleff said. “They sound awesome and adventurous.”

“The Hunger Games” is the story of Katniss Everdeen, a teen girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic version of America called Panem. Living in one of the poorer, outlying districts, she and other teens from Panem’s districts are selected to compete in an annual battle of survival --Êall for the amusement of TV viewers.

Critics have called the movie a faithful adaption of the novel, although some thought that the book’s rugged violence was toned down too much. The movie earned a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.  

It stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, and features a solid stable of supporting actors, including Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Lenny Kravitz.

The trilogy has earned fans’ adoration mainly because of Collins’ writing and storytelling. Paris Bunch, 17, of Neosho, couldn’t stop reading the first book, she said.

“It keeps building and building up,” Bunch said. “There’s no dull point in the book.”

Jamie Orlando, 19, of Joplin, has tried to avoid coverage of the movie. She has tickets to see one of the Saturday showings, and hopes it will be as good as the books, she said.

“They did a good job picking characters,” Orlando said. “But I’m already disappointed with what I’ve seen of the wardrobes. From what I’ve seen, an awesome dress just looks like a prom dress.”

Jason Madden, 14, of Joplin, hasn’t had a chance to read the books yet. But strong recommendations from his friends make him want to go see the movie.

“My friends have read them,” Madden said. “They are excited, and they have good taste. I think I’ll like it a lot.”

Because there is tremendous buzz behind the titles, Dergarabedian said that anything could happen for this first movie.

“Given that this is the first installment, there’s no precedent for what this movie could do. We don’t have a track record for ‘The Hunger Games,”’ Dergarabedian said. “This is one of those movies that because of that appeal to virtually every kind of audience, it could exceed even our strongest expectations this weekend. But we just don’t know. Everybody’s speculating.”

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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