Fans Line up for Premiere of ‘The Hunger Games’

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VALLEY VIEW, Ohio --

Northeast Ohio has a taste for "The Hunger Games."

After months of anticipation, the latest “tween” blockbuster book series trilogy by Suzanne Collins made the leap to the big screen.

More than 1,600 fans of the series purchased tickets early and lined up outside of the Cinemark in Valley View for the midnight viewing Friday morning, but most arrived around dinner time Thursday to ensure a good seat. The movie was showing on four screens beginning at 12:01 a.m.

“I read all the books in like eight hours, and I’m real excited,” said Andrew Eder.

The Hunger Games has become a worldwide sensation, published in 38 countries.

The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic futuristic world.

In the books, the United States no longer exists, but North America is divided into 12 districts.

Through a lottery system, each district must pick a teenaged boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to represent their district in a television competition called The Hunger Games.

During the show, the contestants fight to stay alive and only one can survive.

“The book is like so awesome because it addresses so many things,” said 13-year-old Shaina Brown.

There is a love triangle, but the storyline is also packed with action and some violence as the heroine, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, battles to survive.

Katniss volunteered to participate in the games to save her younger sister who was selected to be in the competition.

At the midnight showing in Valley View, Amber Veverka said, “The main character is really strong, and someone that girls can look up to.”

The movie appeals to both boys and girls, but at the screening, more females dressed up in costume for the occasion.

“It’s just epic. We think it’s fun,” said Nicole Flower.

Amidst all of the excitement, there is also controversy.

Some critics have called the movie, which is rated PG-13, far too violent for young teenagers. But fans disagree.

They say it actually addresses many social issues like poverty and famine.

“It addresses so many things and lets you have some kind of courage,” said Shaina Brown.

Joey Melana added, “It’s all fictional. If you think of it that way, it shouldn’t be too upsetting to people.”

They say it’s the action and message that make The Hunger Games a must-see for both young adults, teens and their parents.

Tonya Davis stood in line waiting to see the movie for four hours with her daughter, Shaina.

“I told her, too, 'You better never say that your mom doesn’t love you, because she does,” Davis said.