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FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 19, 2012

'Ladies and gentlemen, let the 74th Hunger Games begin' on screens this week

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Look for an advance feature about the film. Are fans your age quoted?
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Can you find local movie theater listings in the paper or its website? Prove it.
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Some adults feel Suzanne Collins' books and the new movie are too violent for middle school readers and maybe even students in the early teens. List reasons why you agree or disagree.

The Hunger Games, a sure-fire blockbuster, hits movie theaters around the country with 12:01 a.m. showings early this Friday. It'll be seen at 270 wraparound-screen Imax theaters, as well as multiplexes here, there and everywhere. The sci-fi drama stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemswort and Jennifer Lawrence, a 2011 Oscar nominee for Winter's Bone. Singer Lenny Kravitz also is in the cast.

With action, romance and young adult best-seller book origins, the film has something for everyone – just as Harry Potter did. It's also compared to another hit series. "From the [audience survey] tracking I've seen, the film has much broader appeal than the Twilight films, both in terms of age and of gender," says industry analyst Bruce Nash of Beverly Hills, Calif.

The film, based on a 2008 novel that started a three-book series by Suzanne Collins, is about an undemocratic future nation called Panem in which a girl and a boy from each of the country’s 12 state-like districts are chosen by government lottery to fight for food and survival in annual "Hunger Games." The battles are broadcast to entertain the elite and control the masses. Some violence has been toned down to earn a PG-13 rating, though a congressman thinks it's inappropriate for teens. "The very movies that contribute to violence can be seen by teenagers because they get a PG-13," says Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich.

Reviewer says: "Fans of The Hunger Games are going to be incredibly pleased with this exceptional movie. It gives them everything they were expecting in addition to things they weren’t. . . . It's a rousing, highly emotional and epic film." -– Germain Lussier, rating it at 8 out of 10 at slashdot.com

Blogger says: "The Hunger Games looks like it's going to open bigger at the box office than Twilight." -– Joal Ryan at eonline.com

Reader says: "We Hunger Games fans are dealing with a common fear. Let’s call it Adaptaphobia, the fear that the film adaptation of our favorite books -- especially the young adult books that sparked our imaginations -- will ruin the story forever. We all had that fear with Harry Potter and, to a lesser extent, Twilight." -- Meredith Goldstein, Boston Globe reporter

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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