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'The Hunger Games' Fans Flock to Theaters on Opening Night

Fans of the popular young adult novels came out in droves for the midnight screening of "The Hunger Games."

Team Peeta or Team Gale?

A group of teenagers were asking fellow movie-goers which character they sided with on line at the AMC Hoffman Center in Alexandria Thursday night as fans of "The Hunger Games" lined up for the film's midnight screening.

Based on the popular young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins,

Katniss is joined by Peeta Mellark, a baker's son who professes his love for her before the Games. Meanwhile, Katniss' friend Gale Hawthorne watches the battle — and Katniss' romance — unfold on screen in District 12.

The lines for both the IMAX and regular screenings wound around the building at 9:30 p.m. All screenings were sold out as of Thursday morning, but not all theaters were filled to capacity.

Some moviegoers decided to go to the midnight screening to find out what all the hype was about, despite not reading the entire trilogy.

"I've never read the books, and I'm excited to see what it's all about," said Stephanie Johnson of Alexandria, who attended the screening with her two daughters. "I just got the books today from Barnes and Noble and they arrived at 5 p.m."

"I'm that person who's on page 20 of the second book ('Catching Fire')," remarked Sara Watson of Mount Vernon. "I wasn't into it at first but after the first hundred pages I was hooked."

Out in western Fairfax County, Hunger Games fans came from Ashburn, Sterling, Potomac Falls, Herndon and other areas to catch the film opening night at the Regal Countryside 20 theater.

Many attended in Hunger Games gear and T-shirts, or dressed up in costumes, such as Katniss, Primrose, the flower-covered Rue, Haymitch, "the girl on fire" and other tributes. Four theaters showed the film, though not all four auditoriums sold out. Many attendees were also excited to see a new preview for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2."

Herndon Patch editor Leslie Perales contributed to this story.

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