That point wasn’t lost on at least one of the students, 14-year-old Adrian McCullough. “It was more about unity, I think, as a group,” he said. “It wasn’t about getting out of class.”

While it’s generally gotten favorable reviews, some film critics have torn into the movie like a bloodthirsty “muttation”—in the book’s parlance, an animal genetically altered for use as a weapon. But these students hadn’t read any reviews, and didn’t care much what the grown-ups thought, anyway.

They were too busy comparing the movie to the book, and comparing the story to others from class, like “Lord of the Flies,” “Great Expectations,” “The Lottery,” and “The Most Dangerous Game.”

The first of a series of planned “Hunger Games” films broke the record for a non-sequel last weekend with a $153 million haul at the box office in the United States and Canada, surpassing predictions and giving it the third-highest opening weekend ever.

Not all parents were pleased about the field trip to see the movie, which earned a PG-13 rating based on a toned-down script co-written by Collins herself. Some school outings for younger kids, in fifth and sixth grade, were canceled after small numbers of parents complained.

Hamilton International Middle School in Wallingford, Wash., bagged a sixth-grade trip to see the movie because parents were concerned about violence, according to The Seattle Times. School administrators did not return calls from The Associated Press for comment.

At the private Seattle Girls School in Washington, only one family decided to opt out of a movie outing for about 20 students this week.

“It’s clearly a pretty violent book,” said Rafael del Castillio, the head of school. “But I do wonder why we collectively are so worried about violence in this particular book and this particular movie,” he added, noting the pitfalls of video games and other media kids consume heavily.

In California, Carol Stevenson’s sixth-grader, 12-year-old Jacob, and his schoolmates from Santa Clarita International Charter School were taken to the movie on opening day after his teacher read the book aloud to his class.

“This is a widely diverse group in ethnicity, talent, ability,” Stevenson said. “He was the envy of his friends who don’t go to that school.”

And Jacob’s take? “I don’t really recommend the movie,” he said. “The book was much better.”

Tool kits for teachers looking to hop on “The Hunger Games” bandwagon are all over the internet. Some teachers have made quick classroom lessons of the movie after students returned from the film.