If you've had a craving to see the best-selling novel "The Hunger Games" come to life on the big screen, you're about to be satisfied.
The film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ beloved novel about teens in a post-apocalyptic society who are forced to fight to the death on live television will be shown on multiple screens starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 23 at
The movie, rated PG-13, with a running time of 142 minutes, stars Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the novel's heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Published in 2008 by Scholastic, the book is the first in a trilogy. With nearly 24 million copies in print in the United States alone, it has become a worldwide phenomenon embraced by teens as well as adults. Because of its universal appeal, the film's opening is expected to rival the "Harry Potter” and "Twilight" series in terms of box office draw.
Tickets are already on sale through the theater's website and the Rialto will open its doors at 3:30 p.m. today.
Dean Gentile, regional vice president of operations at Digiplex Cinema Destinations Corp., said the theater and its staff are gearing up for the big event.
"For the convenience of our customers, Digiplex Destinations has elected to open this movie with three digital prints," he said. "This allows us to open the show on a minimum of three screens with a variety of show times to accommodate the majority of our guests while providing excellent service."
Gentile explained that the theater has brought on additional staff to help expedite and organize the anticipated crowds.
"Our number one goal is to provide every guest with a flawless digital presentation and unsurpassed guest service," he said. "We will open 'Hunger Games' in multiple auditoriums to accommodate as many of our guests as possible."
According to a report in The Huffington Post Tuesday, the film has sold out nearly 2,000 screens in its pre-sale and is on track to rank among online ticket agent Fandango’s top five advance ticket-sellers of all time.
Anne Laird, owner of said books sales are up as well. While the novels have been out for a while and have been consistent sellers, the store has seen a "real surge in sales" within the last month.
"We have tons of books in stock, including 'The Official Illustrated Movie Companion' and 'The World of Hunger Games Companion', and have been selling them all like hotcakes," Laird said. "People walk in with an expectant look on their faces and we say to them, 'Are you looking for 'The Hunger Games'?' and they think we are psychic. People come in and we see them a day or two later for the second and third book because they are that addictive. They have been selling to adults and children equally and (we) have heard nothing but rave reviews."
While the has six copies of the book, all are checked out and, according to the circulation desk's Warren Hoffman, there is a waiting list. In addition, the library also owns "The Hunger Games Companion, the Unauthorized Guide," a downloadable edition of the book, a sound recording on CD and "The Hunger Games Official Illustrated Movie Companion" as well as "The Hunger Games Tribute Guide."
Gentile said "Hunger Games" isn't the only blockbuster Hollywood has in store for moviegoers this season.
"We’re looking forward to bringing to the community this spring and summer: “Chimpanzee” (April), “Titanic 3-D” (April), “Three Stooges” (April), Marvel’s “The Avengers” (May), “Men in Black 3” (May), “Madagascar III” (June), “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (July). It’s important to note that five of six screens in Westfield are 3D-enabled," he said.
Gentile added that in an effort to appeal to a variety of film fans the cinema is bringing opera, ballet, sporting events, concerts, independent films, classics and more to the big screen.
For more information, visit Digiplex's website.