Fans line up for the premiere of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1’

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Drew Gurian
Cast members in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay —Part 1” pose for a photo in New York on Nov. 15, 2014. From left, Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. (Drew Gurian/Invision/AP)

Thousands of people throughout America volunteered as tribute last night as they waited in line for hours to watch the midnight premiere of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.”

“Mockingjay” is the third installment of the “Hunger Games” trilogy. The film focuses on Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, as a symbol of a mass, secret rebellion in District 13 and throughout Panem to take down the Capitol.

“I love midnight shows with all of my heart, but ‘The Hunger Games’ has a special place in my heart,” said Claire Wright, a freshman studying special education from Redmond, Oregon. “I just have to finish out going to all of the midnight shows, and ‘Mockingjay’ is part of that.”

Midnight movie premieres of “The Hunger Games” excite fans who love the movies, and the books that they are based off of. Jacob Curtis, a finance student from Denver, Colorado, likes that it brings all the true fans together.

“I love them; I think it just adds an element of excitement, and everybody here is like a huge fan,” Curtis said. “So you don’t get any of the wishy-washy people that don’t really read the books. So I love coming here with all the true fans.”

Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen, right, and Liam Hemsworth portrays Gale Hawthorne in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)
Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen, right, and Liam Hemsworth portrays Gale Hawthorne in a scene from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.” (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)

Loyal book fans sometimes worry that the movies won’t stay true to the story in the books, but many fans don’t think that is the case with “The Hunger Games.”

“I read the books, and I love the books, but I think that movies are just as good,” Wright said. “That usually doesn’t happen, but I really believe that with ‘The Hunger Games.'”

Todd Stapley, a sophomore from Kaysville, hoped “Mockingjay” would be just as enjoyable as the last two films, and he was not disappointed.

“Having read each individual book in the series in less than a day, my hopes were high that ‘Mockingjay’ would follow the tradition of excellence set by the previous two films. I believe I can sum up my experience watching ‘Mockingjay’ in two words — hot dang.”

The Team Peeta or Team Gale debate continued in “Mockingjay,” with fans debating over which man they believe should be with Katniss. While there are Gale fans out there, Team Peeta seemed to be a fan favorite. Hannah Shoaf, a freshman from Columbus, Indiana, is one of those fans.

“Definitely Team Peeta. I was Team Peeta in the books and in the movies, so definitely Team Peeta,” she said. “He was just my favorite character. I felt he was nicer and kinder than Gale, and he loved Katniss more.”

Josh Hutcherson portrays Peeta Mellark in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1." (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)
Josh Hutcherson portrays Peeta Mellark in a scene from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.” (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)

While fans just get to enjoy the movies, theaters have the daunting task of preparing for midnight movie premieres and having hundreds of people in the theater at once. Heather Talbert, a staff leader at the Carmike Wynnsong 12 Theater said a lot of work goes into making sure the night runs smoothly.

“Big premieres, we make sure we have enough people scheduled for that night,” Talbert said. “We make sure all our employees know what they’re doing. We just barely had a meeting talking about this premiere coming up and getting them ready for it, explaining customer service ideas to them to make sure the night runs smoothly. The managers go upstairs to make sure the movie’s going to go through and run smoothly. (We) get ready for whatever and hope we can handle it all, prepare for the worst and expect the best.”

Even though “Hunger Games” fans just saw “Mockingjay — Part 1,” some of them are already ready to see the midnight premiere of Part 2. The final installment of the movie and book trilogy is set to hit theaters November 2015.

“I like going to the midnight showings when it’s something that I’m really passionate and excited about, like when I’m a fan,” Shoaf said. “Like the Harry Potter movies; I also went to those. So the midnight showings, it’s more excitement. When you’re a true fan, you go to the midnight showings.”

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