When a local Menifee high school student sent out the invitation for tonight’s midnight showing of “The Hunger Games” on Facebook, no one was more surprised than her mother author Raquel Byrnes.
“Her friends’ parents were calling me, thanking me for playing chaperone. I had no idea what they were talking about. I tried to bribe my daughter (with money to spend at the mall) if she’d go see it the next day at a more reasonable hour,” Byrnes said.
Bryne’s daughter would not be swayed.
Together with eight of her friends (and as many parents in tow), they purchased tickets three weeks in advance for the IMAX showing at Promenade Temecula.
As workers arrived at Edward’s Stadium 15, Regal Cinema the morning of March 22, many of “The Hunger Games” fanatics were already waiting in line.
With midnight showings in all 15 theaters, including the IMAX, all but one show was completely sold out. An estimated 3,000 people were expected to attend the midnight showings, according to the Edwards box office general information.
Tonight, the air was charged with “capitol activity,” the Edwards Cinema lights blazed and there was a fun-spirited crowd, and characters and fans in costume. Beach balls were tossed out and bounced across the cheering crowd, with more than one Katniss and Peeta, bow at the ready.
When asked about the need to see a movie before anyone else, line-waiters commented on everything from bragging rights for seeing it first, to the joy of making memories with friends, old and new.
That, and seeing their favorite book come to life.
The Hunger Games Premiere (Ashley Ludwig/SWRNN)
“This film and series is about more than just the typical teenage angst as “Twilight,’” Bryne said, “(“The Hunger Games”) female protagonist is strong, full of compassion, she knows right from wrong, and she is full of integrity and nobility. Something kids can aspire to, rather than the simpering, impulsive Bella (of “Twilight”)—and a story that takes place in the microcosm of one high school’s paranormal drama.”
Bryne and company were happy to wait in line and enjoy the full blockbuster experience. “We are ready, with several of our moms well versed in how to best wait out a line this long.”
Whether or not “The Hunger Games” will continue to hold the novel-to-film attention of Harry Potter and Twilight fans remains to be seen.
Fans are encouraged to post their comments and reviews to this article, after the midnight showing.
However, high schools beware: Students and parents may be calling in “sick” tomorrow.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.