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The Hunger Games Takes Over At Local Theaters

Many youngsters at malls were excited for the release of the film at midnight

Palisdaes Center, the giant mall in West Nyack, might as well have been renamed Panem for Thursday night.

With The Hunger Games movie debuting at midnight, many spent the hours leading up to the debut shows anxiously waiting. At the AMC Theaters, Christina Farruggia, 25, and Samantha Iniba, 21, were the first two in line for the movie.

Farruggia got there about 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Ibinia showed up around 5:40. At about 10 to six, they were the only ones waiting.

“We just wanted to get good seats,” Ibina said.

Farruggia said she got out of work, went home to quickly eat and then went to get her spot. She added she wanted to get there so early because she heard that for a midnight showing of one of the Harry Potter movies people started lining up at 10 a.m. Farruggia actually went to a midnight screening for one of the Potter movies as well.

“But these two are going to be it,” she said. “Just these two and no more.”

She added that she loves the books, which is why she was so excited for The Hunger Games film.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far of the movie from clips, it looks really good,” Farruggia said.

While Farruggia and Ibina sat on the floor in a roped off area specially for those waiting for the midnight show they both reread one of the books from the trilogy, with Farruggia reading the first and Ibina reading the third.

But excitement wasn’t contained to just the theater. Nearby at Barnes & Noble, just a short walk away on the fourth floor, a Hunger Games Party started at 6 p.m. The party contained four different Hunger Games-themed stations throughout the store where participants could win prizes. The stations were trivia, create your best Capitol look, test your marksmanship and cupcake decorating. In the two hours, roughly 40-50 people participated in the events. People were also asked to bring food that was collected to donate to People to People.

“This is a national thing that Barnes & Nobles are doing across the country,” said Lisa Wolfe, community relations manager at the mall location. “What’s a little different is most stores did them last night. We had ours today because the movie theater is right here in the mall, as well, and they’re having all those midnight showings.”

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the mall had seven showings of the movie planned for 12:01 a.m., which translated to roughly 1,400 seats combined. If needed, they did have the capacity to increase the number of theaters showing the film. By 10 p.m., the theater had upped to eight showings of the movie, with four sold out.

Nicole Picariello, 17, and Lauren Dammacco, 17, both of Nanuet, got the theater at around 6 p.m. for their showing. Not only did they get there early, but the tickets they had were for a different theater than many others who were waiting, so they were at the front of their line. At around 8 p.m., their theater’s line had five people whereas more than 100 people were already waiting for showings at different theaters.

“I read the books and I’m really excited to just see how they make everything look,” Picariello said. “I want to see if they make the characters look how I imagined them while reading, and I’m excited to see how they make things look in the arena.”

Picariello lent her books to Dammacco, who said she didn’t get around to reading them in time.

“So I’m excited to learn what it’s about,” she said.

Nora Pav, 10, and Erin Pav, 7, both of Westwood, N.J., were attending midnight shows. Nora Pav has read all three books while Erin is still making her way through the third one. Erin Pav said she likes the “hunger” in the books.

“It’s a real page-turner,” Nora Pav added. “It’s just a really good book, and people should like books more than video games.”

Nora and Erin also enjoyed the party at Barnes & Noble, excelling in the trivia contest so much so that their parents had to tell them to let other people get a shot at answering the questions. Nora ended up winning a Hunger Games tote bag in one of the three raffles at the end of the party. Also raffled off was a t-shirt and the big prize, tickets to a midnight showing of the movie.

“It’s something fun for the staff too, it’s different from what we normally do at work,” Wofle said. “And it’s different from what we’ve done for other big movies based on books, like the Twilight or Harry Potter movies. For those we put out a display with all the books and had a lot of merchandise, especially for Twilight. But this was definitely something different and fun.”

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