News Column

New 'Hunger Games' premieres today

November 21, 2013


Nov. 21--FOR SHOWTIMES, see Page 2-B.

At 8 p.m. today, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark will again bring their bravery to the big screen, with the nationwide release of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the second in the four-film franchise.

Based on the young-adult book series -- and sensation -- by Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games" introduced us to a dystopian future in which teenagers are selected by lottery to participate in a televised fight to the death.

The end of the first film saw Katniss and Peeta -- the first ever twosome allowed to survive the Hunger Games together -- navigating their way through their newfound fame.

In "Catching Fire," the pair once again find themselves fighting for their lives, this time against other past winners of the Games.

Large crowds are expected to turn out at theaters all over the country, causing many cinemaplexes to show the film in more that one theater, to accommodate the massive fanbase.

Billy Mosby, manager at Carmike Morgantown Mall 12, said it is corporate policy that managers not speak to media. However, it was agreed that the theater was selling a lot of advance tickets for weekend showings, and that employees were expecting some impressively sized crowds.

A call for comment made to Regal Entertainment, the firm that owns Regal Morgantown Stadium 12, at University Town Centre, was not returned in time for this report.

And while many fans will pack the rows at multiplexes and small-town theaters alike tonight, some are waiting for the crowds to die down, in order to better enjoy the movie with family and friends.

But make no mistake, they agreed -- they will be in those seats, and soon. After all, Katniss and her story are a definite must-see, no matter what age you are, they said.

"We are totally going to make a family date out of going to see this movie," Tracy Strother, 38, of Morgantown, said.

The reason? Katniss is such a good role model, Strother said, both for her, and for her recently turned 13-year-old daughter.

"Katniss Everdeen is like our new Hannah Montana, only so much better," Strother said. "She's a strong figure that my tween and I both identify with. The books are great reads, and the movies, so far, have been entertaining. They have sparked conversations about archery, hunting, the Great Depression, fascism, hair dye, relationships and fighting styles."

Shannon Kelley, a 19-year-old Fairmont State University student, said she, too, appreciates Katniss and Co.'s drive to fight the status quo.

"I really like these types of books," she said. "It's not really a perfect world -- it's hard to explain -- but it's not really a perfect world, but they still try and do what they can."

She said she likes Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, because like her on-screen persona in these films, she seems "not to care what anyone else thinks."

She said she plans to see the movie with her sister, Maria, during her Thanksgiving break.

Morgantown resident and, Baltimore Sound Entertainment owner Jennifer Roxanis considers herself a megafan.

"I love the strength of her character, since I come from such a poor background too and have built up this business to what it is. I've experienced almost all the emotions her character brings to the reader, and it's an absolute personal connection for me.

"I think women oftentimes never believe in themselves enough to face challenges unless their hand is forced, like Katniss' was, and they've simply no other choice but to charge forward -- and it's only then that we find strengths we didn't know we possess."

She said she's optimistic that this installment will continue promoting that pro-female message.

"My hopes for the movie are that her character will continue to encourage women around the world to believe in themselves and stay strong, even when they're faced with what surely looks to be an impossible decision either way.

"And I can't wait to see the costumes, either."


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