'Hunger Games' fans devour film's world premiere
Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to predicting the big-screen success of "The Hunger Games," the fans have spoken. Actually, make that cheered.
Hundreds of fans who won tickets to Monday's world premiere cheered for hours before any stars arrived, screamed when they did and kept the applause going right through the film.
"I thought it was amazing," said Ruzena Zatko, 28, a fan of "The Hunger Games" books who drove from Las Vegas and spent two nights' camped out in front of the Nokia Theatre to win passes. "He stayed true to the book."
Based on the best-seller by Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games" stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as teens fighting for survival in a government-controlled world that hosts annual televised games in which youths are forced to kill their opponents. It opens in U.S. theaters March 23.
Fans Ariel Pemberton and Amanda Shultz loved the book so much they doubted the film could match it, but they came away impressed.
From left, Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth arrive at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Pemberton said it was "way more emotional" than the book, while Shultz enjoyed seeing Collins' post-apocalyptic world come to life: "We all had different ideas what it looked like, so to see it was so cool."
Box-office prognosticators say anticipation for "The Hunger Games" matches and may even surpass that for the "Twilight" movies. (The last "Twilight" film is due in the fall.) They predict "The Hunger Games" could bring in more than $100 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend.
Some have compared the two series. Each is aimed at young adults and features a female heroine with two potential suitors. But fans say the similarities end there.
"This doesn't focus on the love triangle," said 22-year-old Stephanie Zatko, a "Twilight" fan whose sister-in-law convinced her to check out "The Hunger Games." ''She's actually doing something. Bella just sits there."
"Katniss is a stronger female," said Alyssa Walker, 20, who read all three books in the series. "The guys are a thing, too, but she does her own thing."