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‘Hunger Games’ hits theaters in midnight premiere

A post-apocalyptic world filled with violent murderous games where teenagers fight to the death sets the scene for Hollywood’s latest venture into young adult literature with “The Hunger Games.”

New sensation saga, “The Hunger Games” hits theaters this Friday at midnight and has already been called the “new Twilight” by the media.

The basis for the movie is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  Director Gary Ross worked closely with Collins to keep the screenplay as true to her work as possible.

Collins’ story takes places in Panem, formerly North America now divided into 12 districts. Each district is required to send a boy and a girl to fight for their lives in an arena where every movement is captured and the population is forced to watch live on TV. When Katniss Everdeen’ sister is chosen to be one of the tributes, the protagonist volunteers to go in her place.‬

The main cast consists of young actors Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. It also features Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks and singer/actor Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, one of Katniss’ mentors for the battle.

Filming took place from May to September in Asheville, N.C. where Belmont student Lauren Cantrell got to spend her summer working closely with the actors on set.

“The costumes are crazy awesome,” she said. “The special effects are incredible. If you’ve read the books and are a die-hard fan, you won’t be disappointed, it’s very close to the real thing.”

Media excitement around the movie has been huge, from big circulation magazine covers to ads on the biggest webpages and main TV channels.

“I decided to read it because of all the attention it has gotten lately,” said senior journalism student Aly Meisterling. “A lot of people have been talking about it via Facebook, Twitter, et cetera, and I wanted to see what it was all about,”

Plot twists and a dark subject matter make this book a difficult one to put down from the moment Katniss arrives in the Capitol — full of extremely bizarre looks and concepts — to her very first seconds in the battle.

Because of intense violent thematic material and disturbing images, the movie received a rating of PG-13.

“I loved the intensity of it all. It was very unpredictable. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end,” Meisterling said.

Already scoring good reviews from the Associated Press, movie sites and blogs, ” the Hunger Games” was made on a budget of $80 million, and producers expect to recover that and more in a likely $100 million gross for the first weekend.

The eclectic movie soundtrack, released March 20, features chart-toppers like The Civil Wars, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire, Miranda Lambert and Kid Cudi.

– Karoline Ihns, Staff Writer

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