NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of New Rochelle ninth graders got to see “The Hunger Games” on the day the movie opened nationwide and they didn’t even have to play hooky to do so.

The teachers at New Rochelle High School organized the field trip to New Roc City’s theater months ago. Students were required to read the first installment of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy over the summer.

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“I don’t think any parents had to torture them to finish this book,” English teacher Katherine Cumerford said. “They’ve all read it, they’ve handed in projects, they’ve passed their reading checks, so this is their reward.”

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports

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“We collected money in record time for this trip,” teacher Mered Kopstein said.

Four hundred students were taken to the theater — which reportedly closed several screenings to the public to accommodate the school — Friday to see the highly-anticipated movie, which experts believe could break box office records.

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Early estimates say the movie could pull in $130 million by the end of the weekend, which would make it the biggest March opening ever.

The Hunger Games” is a young adult series about a post-apocalyptic nation in which teenagers are forced to fight each other to death on live television.

Though students were only required to read the first novel in the trilogy, Kopstein said many went on to read all three of the books on their own.

“It just catches you and keeps bringing intriguing new aspects of the arena and new characters that are just well-developed and make you hold on to every page,” student Luke Holtsman said.

The movie, which stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, had a strong opening with $19.7 million from overnight showings that began at midnight.

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Have you seen the movie yet? What’d you think? Let us know below…