The Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 added three new tiles to their star plaza tonight: Liam Hemsworth, Francis Lawrence and a commemorative plaque for the premiere of "Catching Fire," the second film in the "Hunger Games" franchise.
Both Lawrence, who directed the film, and Hemsworth, who plays Katniss's childhood friend Gale, attended the event, which served as a fundraiser for Variety – The Children's Charity.
The charity, which helps U.S. children in need, raised more than $500 million through the premiere, 100 percent of which goes to the charity, according to Carol Fusco, executive director of Variety.
Lawrence and Hemsworth arrived on the red carpet to hundreds of screaming fans, many of whom got autographs and pictures with Hemsworth, who also stopped to talk to media.
When talking to The Daily Beacon, he emphasized how proud he is of the film and cast.
"I'm very happy to be a part of this whole project," Hemsworth said. "I'm working with the director Frances Lawrence and we have so many great actors on this. It's a meaningful story. I think we've become very emotionally involved in these characters because they're real people, they're honest.
"They've caught on to the situations and they've managed to stay themselves somehow throughout those terrible situations."
Lawrence, who directed "I Am Legend" and is set to direct the next two films in the "Hunger Games" series, talked about his vision for "Catching Fire" and how the source material provided crucial inspiration for his take on the film.
"My vision all kind of came from the source material," Lawrence said. "('Catching Fire') is the book where everything starts to open up. The real themes of the stories really start to kick in, the consequence of war and of violence. We can really see what kind of damage has been done to the characters that have been in the games.
"The stakes open up emotionally for Katniss and for the entire nation; the rebellion is starting to percolate so I took all those ideas and built from that."
Fans started arriving around 1 p.m. Tuesday and lined up outside the fences surrounding the Turkey Creek theater, all with one goal in mind: see Liam Hemsworth.
"I bragged about it to all my friends," said Madison Harmon, a freshman in communication studies who had a ticket to the showing. "I'm just hanging out with Liam Hemsworth this afternoon, no big deal. But I'm definitely Team Peeta, got to root for the underdog."
Fusco was impressed with the amount of people that attended the event and with the impact the showing would have on the community.
"We are able to bring in a lot of star power and notoriety to the city," Fusco said. "We have a wealth of people in the area that help support us."
After the screening, the crowds were abuzz with excitement and approval for the sequel to "The Hunger Games," which made $155 million in its opening weekend.
"I loved it and was so happy with it," said Marilee Liemohn, a sophomore at Central High School. "The first was good, but I had to grow to like it. In this one there were just so many good parts. It's so exciting that something like this could happen in Knoxville."