Their hunger is satisfied. But only for now.
Throngs of "Hunger Games" fans in Omaha sounded happily fed by what Hollywood has done with Suzanne Collins' popular futuristic novel, in which 24 impoverished teens are forced to fight to the death on live television until just one remains.
But barely was the PG-13 movie over before anticipation began for the next installment in what's expected to be a four-film blockbuster franchise.
"I've read all the books, so I'm really waiting for the third movie," said Carey Ray, who went with son James, 21, to a midnight showing on Thursday. "The books are always better than the movie."
James immediately protested his mom's evaluation, saying the movie "was, like, verbatim — the same thing" as the book.
He said he appreciated the story's social commentary on things like reality television and oppressive government.
"It's aimed toward early high school, late middle school crowds. Parents can enjoy it, but you're not going to find the same level as (Stanley) Kubrick," he said.
Kubrick directed "2001: A Space Odyssey," considered a sci-fi classic.
While the midnight show at Rave Westroads was predictably about 95 percent teens and twentysomethings, more than a few extremely giving (or temporarily deranged) parents turned out with their kids. They had just as many good things to say about director Gary Ross' opening installment.
"I loved it, even at my age," said Jay Ferguson, 53, who brought daughter Jessi, 11. "She got me interested in the books."
Ferguson said the violence in the movie was handled well.
"I think they toned it down a bit," he said. "What you imagined reading the books could have been much more graphic in the movie."
Jessi said the movie was "awesome, basically the same as the book."
"It was fantastic," agreed Sarah Powers, who took daughter Marie, 10, and son Nick, 15. "I teach sixth grade, and all my students read the books. They will not be disappointed."
"Pretty good," Nick agreed, saying he was not disappointed in anything he saw. Marie said a favorite scene for her had to do with poison berries.
Anne and Tom Byrne went with all four of their kids: Jane, 20; John, 17; Caroline, 14; and Lizzy, 11, who had all read the books.
"I think I would have been concerned for the 11-year-old, had she not read it," Anne said. "We talked a lot about it, how it takes place in the future and what it would be like if you had to behave like that. It helped that she knew what to expect."
Jordan Kruse, 16, said she missed a few small details from the book but the movie "blew my mind. It was really how I thought it should be."
Jordan's friends, Ari Durden, 15, and Ellen Juracek, 17, also said they liked the movie, though Ari said it was a little slow at first.
"But the special effects were excellent," Ellen said. "They nailed the makeup and costumes for the scenes in the Capitol."
Molly Meyer, a student at Creighton University, turned 19 at the screening in the company of 11 friends, one of whom led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" just before the movie started.
"I read the books, and during the movie I could not contain myself I was so excited," she said. "The whole time I had goosebumps. I thought it was perfect."
Michelle Juon, 35, who saw the movie at Oak View, said she missed the subtleties of the romantic tension between the story's heroine, Katniss, and her fellow District 12 fighter, Peeta. It was there, she said, but not with the novel's detail.
T.J. Brumfield, 33, who also went to Oak View, said he appreciated that "The Hunger Games" is the opposite of "The Twilight Saga."
"Romance is secondary," he said. "The writing is actually good. And the female lead is capable of taking care of herself and others."
Rave Westroads manager Paul Albright said about 1,800 of the theater's 2,200 seats were filled for the midnight showing, which played in all 14 auditoriums. "The Hunger Games" showed on five screens at Rave for the rest of the weekend.
AMC Oak View sold out five auditoriums for the midnight show, about 1,500 seats. Great Escape, showing on one screen at midnight, did not sell out. At Aksarben Cinema, all 10 screens sold out, a total of about 1,600 seats.
Contact the writer: