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Fans gobble up 'The Hunger Games,' setting box office records

By Kiersten Sinko
On April 2, 2012

Another blockbuster trilogy has made its way into the hearts of the world. Similar to the tales of "Harry Potter" and "Twilight," "The Hunger Games" has captured the attention of millions of viewers. Premiering last week and raking in a record $155 million in North America alone, the first of Suzanne Collins trilogy earned the title of strongest opening weekend total for a spring release of all time.

Over the past year, Lionsgate has executed an extensive marketing campaign to supplement the release of the feature film, including near-constant use of Facebook and Twitter, a YouTube channel, a Tumblr blog, iPhone games and live Yahoo streaming from the premiere. "The Hunger Games" promises to be one of the biggest film franchises of this decade, with predictions that it will easily earn $500-$700 million, depending on the interest overseas.

Basically, if you hadn't heard of "The Hunger Games" recently, you must have been living under a rock. Seriously, these guys were and still are everywhere.

Lead actress Jennifer Lawrence spoke of this in several interviews before the film was released, emphasizing her shock when millions of screaming fans lined up to meet the young woman. "This is big, huh?" she remarked to David Letterman.

It's common for viewers to have complaints when their favorite novels are made into films, such was the case with many for the "Twilight" saga and "Harry Potter," however, "The Hunger Games" was the complete opposite. Although the film was longer than most, and the portrayal of the book was not exactly perfect, this movie was exactly what readers hoped it would be; powerful.

"The Hunger Games" did have a few deviations from the book, including a head gamekeeper who easily communicates with President Snow and the instant start to the rebellion in District 11. The movie even went through a talk show to explain parts of the 74th Hunger Games arena, in order to ensure that the audience understood what they were seeing. These add-ons were exactly what this movie needed in order to explain the concept of the story to viewers who have not read the books.

Suzanne Collins, the author of "The Hunger Games" trilogy, collaborated with the writers of the script in order to make sure her books were displayed in a way of her liking. After hearing this, I was fully aware of how carefully put together the film was, which made my liking of the movie even stronger.

Going into the movie theater, I was also aware of how important the role of Katniss Everdeen was to the readers. Unlike "Twilight" heroine Bella Swan, "The Hunger Games" was an inspiration to young teenage girls who need a strong, independent and determined female idol, unlike a defeated, desperate female that runs to human contact for comfort. Nevertheless, Jennifer Lawrence played the role flawlessly. She was able to not only show confidence and independence, but was also able to show viewers how emotional Katniss Everdeen is, and how afraid she was even though she never cared to admit it to others around her.

Also impressive was the performance of Josh Hutcherson, who played the role of Peeta Mellark. There has been controversy regarding Hutcherson's height compared to Lawrence, and many readers feel he was too short for the role. I would have to disagree. In the books, Peeta is not known for being powerful and independent, but for being caring and compassionate towards Katniss. I feel the height is not an issue, it only adds to Peeta's character. In the book, Gale is supposed to come off as the strong and independent character, and Liam Hemsworth, who portrays Gale in the film, has the perfect physique for this role.

Overall, "The Hunger Games" was a powerful film and it left me running home to finish up the third book. Even after reading the books, I am left hungry for more, and impatiently waiting for movie number two, along with the rest of the fans.

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