Next to the theatrical release of The Hunger Games, the DVD/Blu-ray release was the next big thing for Hunger Games fans, as it allows us to bring The Games into our homes and watch them as many times as we want without being judged (though that didn’t stop me from watching it six times in theaters ). Lionsgate must have known that the release was going to be a big deal, because they not only set up midnight release parties at participating stores, they also chose a few stores to have cast members present to meet and greet fans. After the bonus feature screening I got to attend, I didn’t think I’d get to do something that cool again so soon, but Lionsgate graciously invited me and a few other staffers from various HG fan sites to cover these parties.
Since I’m situated in Los Angeles, I attended the midnight release party at the Walmart in Santa Clarita, CA. I rode with Courtney from WelcometoDistrict12.com, where we met up with Tiffany (also from Welcome to District 12, in addition to Victors Village.) Upon walking to the entrance, we immediately noticed the huge line of people waiting to buy the DVD, in addition to meeting the cast members assigned to our location, Dayo Okeniyi and Jack Quaid. When we got there, there were about 90 people already in line, and we learned later that the line grew so much that a helicopter flew over to get a shot of the long line. Jennifer Sandler, VP of Publicity over at Lionsgate, greeted us at the door, and soon we were being led to the “Green Room,” where a fan site panel would get to interview Dayo and Jack. Courtney, Tiffany, and I were already giddy from being admitted into the store when everyone else was being kept out, but that giddiness overflowed when we turned into a hallway, where Dayo and Jack were standing. I kept my cool and walked by them casually, even though on the inside I wanted to jump up and down uncontrollably. Once we passed the Tribute duo, we entered the Green Room, where we caught up with Erin and Elena from HGMovieSite and Beth from Mockingjay.net. We barely got a minute to compose ourselves before Dayo and Jack entered the room and the madness begun. For the full interview, watch the video below and check out some pictures after the jump, and try to do it without laughing! The interview starts at 3:50.
After the interview, we were led back to the front of the store, where the signing would take place. Before the line of fans was let in, those of us who had stuff got it signed by Dayo and Jack, and we stood off to the side to watch the action unfold. It was great to see all the fans get excited to finally get their hands on The Hunger Games to take home, in addition to the wide smiles upon meeting Dayo and Jack. There were some great costumes, and it was fun to see all kinds of people there, young and old alike. Even after the scheduled signing was over, Dayo and Jack signed items and took pictures with the friendly Walmart staff working the event, and even had employees open the locked front doors so that they could greet fans that were still eager to interact with the duo. Quite possibly the best part for me was when both Dayo and Jack initiated two separate group hugs for the fan sites, expressing their gratitude for all the work we do. A lot of time and effort goes into running a fan site, especially for something as huge as The Hunger Games, so for the cast members to show their appreciation like that meant the world to us.
That was the experience I had attending my first ever DVD release party, and I’m so thankful I was able to attend representing DWTC. It amazes me how much Lionsgate does to show their appreciation for us, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their generosity. And I’m especially glad that I’m able to share my experience with you all, our faithful readers. It’s because of you that we are driven to keep doing what we’re doing, so thank you for all your support!
Who knows when the next time will be when we get to do something this fun, but at least we can watch The Hunger Games at home until then, right?