“Hunger Games” Hype

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West is abuzz today with discussion of the release of “The Hunger Games,” which opens tonight at midnight. Based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, the film has garnered worldwide attention in the past few weeks. Many students at West have followed the movie’s meteoric rise and have plans to attend tonight’s premiere.

“I don’t have words to describe how excited I am,” Kaylyn Olson, freshman, said.

The story is set in a post-apocalypse North American nation known as Panem, where the totalitarian Capitol exerts its authority through yearly Hunger Games. Each district is forced to sacrifice two teenagers to compete in a televised, mandatory fight to the death. The plot follows heroine Katniss Everdeen, a resourceful 16-year-old from impoverished District 12, who volunteers herself as a tribute for the Games after her younger sister’s name is chosen. The Hunger Games, which is part of a trilogy, was published in 2008 and has since been translated into 26 different languages. Lionsgate Entertainment acquired the distribution rights in 2009 and filming began in May 2011, with Gary Ross as director and Jennifer Lawrence in the title role of Katniss.

Anticipation for the film has been strong throughout due to the book having such a massive fan base; however, in the past few weeks, “The Hunger Games” has garnered predictions that its box-office performance may shatter the records of such blockbusters as Twilight and its successors.

Even the stock market has been affected. Both Lionsgate Entertainment and Scholastic Publishing have experienced a significant surge in stocks, as well as several theaters such as  Regal Entertainment and Cinemark. Whether this jump will persist is uncertain, but its occurrence can be taken as another indicator of widespread interest.

Early reviews of the film have also been overwhelmingly positive, which has done nothing but increase suspense. On Rotten Tomatoes (a website that aggregates critical reviews from around the country), “the Hunger Games” already holds a rating of 89% “fresh.” The Los Angeles Times praised the film, especially Lawrence’s performance: “If, as the ads suggest, the whole world will be watching this, viewers will likely be satisfied with what they see.”

Students of all ages are anxiously waiting to attend tonight’s premiere. The novels and now films have a universal appeal, unlike Twilight which is said to be strictly chick-flick material. Many fans bought tickets a month in advance and plan on arriving hours before the start time in order to assure their spot at a midnight showing. Lexi Bisbing and Erin Feller, juniors, will see the movie before anyone else when they watch an advance screening tonight at 6:30; they received their tickets through family friends who work for AMC.

“I’m so excited,” Bisbing said, “I read all the books and loved them.”