a new kind of fan

The family and I ventured out the mall yesterday afternoon in search of flip flops.  It was around 5:45 when we got there and already, the lines were beginning to form for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  As a fan of the books, I found it quite cool to see the devoted fans, many decked out in their District 12 shirts, so anxious to see the film.

The coolest part?  Those early-birds were a nice mix of folks.  Pre-teen boys and girls, older teens of both sexes, older couples, a mom and her two kids.  Unlike the Twilight phase, The Hunger Games appeals to a wider audience.  And knowing/hoping that a great many of the people who will watch the movie have read the books makes me profoundly happy as a writer.

I should note here that The Wife and I walked to the box office and pre-purchased our tickets for a 6:50 show tonight.  It’s showing on 5 screens and only 2 were not yet sold out for tonight’s shows.

Now, like I said.  I am a fan of the books.  I would actually go so far as to say that Book 1 of the series was easily in my top 5 books read in 2011.  Book 2 was okay, too.  And Book 3, while disappointing, was decent.

Still, seeing those few eager fans in line more than 6 hours before the movie started made me wonder if there was something of this magnitude going on when I was a teenager.  I don’t remember anything. 

So my question is this: with phenomenons like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, just what percentage of the movie-goers have read the books first?  Even if it’s only half (and I expect it’s probably more, given the ferocity of the fans), that’s got to speak volumes about the state of reading in the country, right?

Were there no good books out when I was a teen?  Was nothing great form the printed page being given the Hollywood treatment?  Can anyone think of an equivalent to this about 10-15 years ago?

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