Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie Premiere

The following is an account of my two days spent in LA Live for the World Premiere of The Hunger Games. It's very long (~3,100 words) and detailed. A slide show of my pictures and my video clips are at the very bottom. The entire post is picture heavy so I put the whole thing after the jump. 

I had a lot of fun and I highly recommend seeing the movie if you're a fan of the book. I think they did it justice. 

Happy Hunger Games!

Sunday, 5:15 am

My friends and I park and stand "in line". The official information on the premiere from Lionsgate said they'd be handing out wristbands at 6 am for "registered people".

We didn't get a chance to register on Facebook but since we're So Cal residents, we went down to LA Live and took a chance at getting a wristband anyway.

They very first group of people that arrived and started "the line" got there Sunday afternoon and pretty much camped out on the street. They started it on the corner of Figueroa and 11th and it grew down 11th to Hope.

A little after 6 am, they escorted us down Chuck Hern Ct., around the back of Nokia Theater to the opposite side facing the JW Marriott. This whole time, it's bitterly cold. We're all shivering and we take turns going into Starbucks for something warm and something to eat. I highly recommend their sausage and egg breakfast sandwich. As I'm coming back, they're handing out stickers to everyone with a number on it. I'm #226, so not so bad. We ask the people around the 70s what time they arrived and they said around 2:30 am. By the end of the morning, it only got up to 295. The sticker sheets went up, it looked like, to 500 so I'm thinking they overestimated just to be safe. I'd figure that's a sensible. 400 people who registered + 100 chance takers.

Online, they only registered about 400 people which was their expected capacity. It seems like a lot of people who registered, didn't show up. I'm thinking that they were mostly out of town and out of state people who couldn't get their flights. And for the people who didn't register but were local, were scared off by the registration and just never took a chance and went down anyway like we did. I totally understand because people have work and school and why take a chance and waste two days on something that's not 100% certain?

While waiting, the Lionsgate staff passed out boxes of Kristy Kreme doughnuts to everyone waiting in line. My friend’s boyfriend scored three boxes but we could have gotten a lot more. I think they were expecting a whole lot larger turnout. They have bags and bags of boxed doughnuts.

I walked around the area a bit to warm up and to snap up some pictures of them setting up. They had barricaded the plaza off and were building black divider boards with The Hunger Games movie poster on it as a backdrop. They were also setting up cables of outlets for us to charge our laptops and phones while camping out (best idea ever).

Though I never seemed to have a fully charges phone the entire time. We were constantly on the move doing something, mostly waiting in line. I swear, by the end, I wanted to call this "Wait-In-A-Line" premiere.

A while later the line starts to move. They're handing out wristbands and letting people into the plaza to make camp. They move us 10 at a time so it's a slow and steady pace. They keep showing the trailer on the giant screens but you can't hear the sound yet. During the Breaking Dawn premiere, people would scream every time it came on. I'm glad Hunger Games fans either weren't that crazed or that it was still way to early in the morning for that.

At the wristband table, we hand them our IDs and they check it against a list of on-line registered people. If you weren't on there, they wrote your name down at the bottom of the page and fastened a wristband on. It was the thick kind but the thin papery kind. It was gold and said "The Hunger Games 2012" on it but it wasn't numbered. When you entered the camping area, they took your numbered sticker! So... reality check. No matter what time you arrived, everyone was on the same foot. No one is numbered and I doubt that people would stick to the honor code of who arrived first. When does that ever happen?

We ask security how the whole lining up for the premiere is going to go. They tell us that having a wristband does not guarantee you a ticket inside. The wristband is just to camp out to have premiere priority. You'll need to stay and camp out and at an undisclosed time, they'll hand out numbers. So, because we're good little Girl Scouts, we grab out camping equipment from our cars and set up.

KIIS FM (Top 40s radio station) sets up a booth and starts playing really weird music. Mash-ups and the same popular songs over and over again. There's a dermatology company there handing out free samples of their face wash and sunscreen. Sunscreen is much appreciated because it's getting sunny and hot!

There were drawings for KIIS FM t-shirts and one winner won a Nook Tablet. They also had this massive Trivia quiz and I forget what the winner would win but it was three pages back and front. We started working on one but when you get questions like "How long did it take the production crew to construct the Cornucopia?" I threw up my hands in frustration and said "Not Worth It!"

Thick ass line >:-(
All early morning and afternoon they'd announce that "people might come by and hang out... maybe Jennifer Lawrence?" So a little after 1 pm, a limo shows up. It's Amandla who plays Rue from District 11. They set her up in front of The Hob sign for autographs and pictures. Again, like good little robots, we form a line. It's not your normal line though because in some areas, it's 4 people thick so you're standing in one place for a solid 15 minutes before moving up a few steps. I think we're in the line for an hour when they say that Amandla had to go. She left before I got even close to the front.

Another thing about this "autograph with the talent" line is that it's completely dependent on the honor of the people in line and fan boys and girls meeting celebrities have no honor. There were groups upon groups of people cutting and the only security was the bounce at the entrance letting only ~5 people in the signing area at a time.

Alexander Ludwig
After Amandla came, is the sweet and handsome Alexander Ludwig who plays Cato from District 2. He plays such a jerk in the movie but in real life, he's so generous and just an all around super guy. I think out of all the cast, him and Josh Hutcherson are my favorites.

Joining Alex on the signing table is Isabelle who plays Clove from District 2 and Jennifer Lawrence who plays the lead role of Katniss Everdeen from District 12. When we left the autograph area, we immediately got back in line. So we were at the complete end of the line when Jennifer arrived. So, with the honorable tweens and teenagers all over the place, we didn't get her autograph when she and Alex left.

Willow Shields
Jacqueline Emerson
Isabelle signs alone for a while before Willow Shields, Primrose Everdeen, and Jacqueline Emerson who plays Foxface from District 5 arrives. Again, they serenade us with the Spongebob Square pants theme song, Bye bye bye from N'Sync and the TV show theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I think I left my sanity in that camp somewhere that afternoon.

Isabelle leaves before we get a chance to meet her but Willow and Jacqueline are really nice. I asked them for a picture and other people took them as well but with them, I just wanted a picture of them alone. They're like, "Um.. ok!"

They both leave shortly after and it's less than 10 minutes before Josh Hutcherson who plays Peeta Melark, Jennifer's main costar in the movie, shows up. Now we're stuck at the very end of the line. I figure, if I can't meet and get his autograph, at least I want to get his picture! So I walk around the barricaded area to the sidewalk and take my pictures. I want a different angel so I ask the girls near the front of the line if I can lean over and take pictures from that side. The girls move up and into the area and I kinda-sorta follow them. A group of girls lingers because they're waiting for their friends to join them so they can go inside together. So, I'm at the entrance looking at the security guard and I say, "Um, it's just me. Can I go

"You're alone?"


He shrugs, "Alright," and waves me in.

Josh Hutcherson
So there I am, back inside the autographing area. I take a few pictures of him while he's signing for the group ahead of me. When it's my turn, I'm pretty much alone in the area. Instead of taking pictures, I take a movie of the entire encounter. It won't be until later that night that an official Hunger Games twitter account tweets out a picture of me and Josh. Haha caught red handed.

I head back to my friends where they're waiting in line. I don't tell them what happened until later (right before they see the Twitter picture!). We travel half the distance to the entrance when Josh comes out and stands on a chair or something, takes the mic, and thanks everyone for coming out and supporting the movie and being such die hard fans. He's such a nice person!

The autograph area is still set up so I'm thinking that another person will show up. I'm crossing my fingers that Liam Hemsworth will show up. What does come is dinner in the shape of Fatburger and Sabra food trucks. While they're parking and setting up Ian Nelson, a tribute from District 3, shows up. No one really cares and so the line is split into two, one for Ian and one for "someone other than Ian". I gotta snatch up ever opportunity that I can so I get Ian's autograph. He's so pretty! Give him a few years and he'll be breaking some hearts.

Once Ian leaves, security announces that no more will be showing up and to get something to eat. We already ate between meeting Willow and Jacqueline and Josh. It was around 4 pm and we were starving. Krispy Kreme, no matter how tasty, is not breakfast and lunch. Plus, we were exhausted from waking up early and standing in lines in the sun all day.

The Lakers' game ends and people exit Staples Center that's across the street. They don't heckle us like that did when we camped out for Breaking Dawn but once they knew what we were there for, some of them signed up with the officials, got a wristband and camped out.

We read, charge our phones and try and go to sleep around 9 pm but there's people talking, bright light, it's cold, and the concrete is not very forgiving. I lasted a whole hour before giving up and going to my car to try and sleep.

Monday, 4 am

They never passed out numbers on Sunday so I'm thinking they'll do it early today. I wake up and head back. Around 5 am they tell us to line up, again it's first come, first serve. But, they hand out numbers on a completely random basis. People within the same group don't necessarily get put together. We told Charles that we had just the four of us and he managed to keep us together. We broke camp and packed everything up. As soon as we receive our numbers, we had to leave but return at noon when a notice would be posted of the times we would be lining up according to our numbers to go inside the barricades.

I leave around 6 am, get home and pass out until 10 am. We all get back at noon only to see that we don't need to be present to line until 3:30 pm. Something they could have told us a whole lot earlier! Or, better yet, told us not to come back to check times until 2 pm! I could have gotten more sleep!

We collect some supplies and food in downtown and by the time we're finally lining up it's a little but after 4 pm. But the saddest thing? The poster that I had gotten signed the previous day gets stolen in the bathroom! I swear, karma better be a vengeful bitch. I'm relying on the Universe for this one.

Josh's #1 fan?
The whole day, people who hadn't camped out and gotten a random number were sent across Georgia street to line up in front of the parking garage. If they needed more people after we were all inside the barricades, they'd let them in. Everyone in the barricades was guaranteed a ticket inside the Nokia Theater to watch the movie. One of the girls waiting to get in who didn't have a wristband has a bit of a crush on Josh as you can see.

One stark contrast between the Twilight premieres and this one is the set up for the red carpet, mostly the fan areas. I'm used to two areas, one in front of the flash photography and one in front of the video bloggers, television stations, and web streams. For this there were two areas but the area in front of the photographers was 1/5 that of the videographer side. Instead of barricades, they have tall board
up with the movie poster on it to act as background.

The media and us
Since we were background for all the video people, we were goaded to scream while their anchors did the B-roll intros to their Hunger Games premiere segments. I should have brought a mask. That way they wouldn't have my "open mouth and pretend your excited" look. Sorry, but I'm not a trained monkey to scream at your command. If I don't do it for Twilight, I'm sure as hell not ganna to it for you. Anyway, that went on for about an hour before Larry shooed them off the carpet.

There are a few good moments while waiting for arrivals like spotting awesome homemade posters like "Josh! You make my heart go Peeta-Patta!" I was standing next to a family from North Carolina (who might have been extras in the movie?) and when the young man next to me said , "Looks like they're here." I looked over to the street so see what he was talking about.

"Where?" I ask.

"Over there," he points. "See the orange?"

"Um... that's a city bus," I say straight-faced. "They'll be showing in limos and fancy SUVs."

"Oh well... I'm from North Carolina so I dunno."

"Your limos are orange?"

"Oh, no no no. But orange and black... they're Hunger Games colors," he says sheepishly.


Nice kid and family. The two girls were especially excited to be there. I over heard one of them talk to someone on the phone and say something like "I've never done this before" "This is the best day of my life" "I've never been to LA before and I'm having such a great time " I look over to my friends and say, "Awww." I like seeing honest fans like these.

The arrivals come little by little starting off with some MTV reality show people. The Hunger Games cast starts showing up. IMDB saves our lives because 80% of the people in this movie are totally unknown or unrecognizable. It's around this time that I can't keep up with the arrivals and stop tweeting.

Besides have most of the cast not only do their part in promoting the movie to the various blogs and media, they turned around and signed a lot of our stuff. My posters have a bunch of signatures. Some fun and awesome moments was seeing Sylvester Stallone and Michael Chickless on the black carpet with their families.

Annie Thurman
When Annie Thurman, a tribute from District 9 was near, my friend screamed "Annie!! The sun will come out tomorrow!!" to get her attention. I was dying of laughter.

Another funny moment was when a girl behind me shouted "Maria Shriver!!" to a woman who was not the former First Lady of California. She promptly ducked behind her cousin to hide her shame and from the incredulous eyes of the woman. (I think it was Rita Hayworth but at least I didn't shout it to her face).

Jennifer Lawrence
The whole thing seems to go by quickly and slow at the same time. Either way, my legs and feet were killing me. Jennifer and Josh were the last ones to come by and sign. Josh was rushed and didn't get to everyone, including me. I did get Jennifer and Liam to sign my poster along with a bunch of other cast members.

Once Josh left, security was ushering us out of the barricades and into the theater. We checked in our phones and cameras (a highly organized method and 1,000 times quicker than the Breaking Dawn premiere) and made our way to our seats after snagging some movie cups and a few bottles of soda.
Josh Hutcherson

Right before the move, a spokesman from Lionsgate came out and thanked everyone for their hard work on the movie. He introduced the director, Gary Ross, who introduced Liam, Josh and Jennifer and said his thanks. On the way out, Jennifer tripped on her dress. You could tell she was embarrassed and the guys were laughing. On the way off stage, Josh mimed stepping on her dress to make her trip again that had the theater cracking up.

The lights went down and the movie started. It's such a well-done movie. I can't wait to share my review of it with you all. They took small liberties here and there for the movie's sake but it's totally ok within the context of the movie. I was surprised at some of the scenes though, especially during the cornucopia scene. I bet they were really pushing that PG-13 rating right there. There were a lot of gasping moments. And I cried like a baby at one point. Silent tears just pouring down my face. So the only thing I'd say is bring tissues!

All in all, it was a great premiere event. It makes me wonder now that Lionsgate have bought Summit, what they're going to do when Breaking Dawn part 2 comes out this November. I really hope they change a few things because for part 1, there were 1,000+ campers and premiere goers. Part 2 is looking to be even bigger because it's the last one in the franchise.

Well, that's it for me. Happy Hunger Games everyone! And may the odds be ever in your favor!




  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. What I want to know is, how long was the line to get your camera out of bag check? At Twilight premieres it can take hours! :-/ Great report! Thank you for sharing!