“The Hunger Games” has solidified itself as a major blockbuster. Making just under $20 million in midnight-release tickets alone, it has secured its position as the new, undisputed champion of book-to-film adaptations. Was there ever any doubt?

Taking place at an unspecified time in the future, “The Hunger Games” is a tale about class oppression and how far people are willing to go to survive and provide for their families.

Whenever beloved books are adapted for the screen, expectations run perilously high, and I have to say I feel it truly delivered.

Jennifer Lawrence has been knocking performances out of the park with roles in “Winter’s Bone” and “X-Men: First Class,” but “The Hunger Games” is the first time she’s had a part I felt would herald her arrival as a star. Her performance as Katniss Everdeen is the anchor of the film.

With the exception of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, all the actors deliver strong performances, even in roles that will have you doing double takes. Yes, that’s Lenny Kravitz in the film, and, yes, he can act.

The film is broken into three distinct acts, and each takes a unique approach to filmmaking. The third act is the most impressive as it switches to an almost guerilla-filmmaking style. The style is similar to the found-footage trope and lends an added sense of realism to the preceedings.

The cinematography will probably be jarring at first because all of a sudden the movie feels like a found-footage production, but this allows the film to get away with the amount of violence that it does. Was there any doubt that a film about children killing one another would earn an R rating? But thanks to clever camera techniques we rarely see more on-screen gore than we would in an episode of a show like “Supernatural.”

The subject matter is necessarily of a very dark nature. After all, it is about kids between the ages of 12 and 18 killing one another until only one remains.

Make no mistake: the film is violent and children do die, but the film never crosses any lines, nor does it stray into “Battle Royale” territory.

“The Hunger Games” has been met with criticism that it is just a watered-down “Battle Royale.” But with the exception of children killing children, the two films are hardly comparable.

There was little doubt in my mind that this would be a good film. You don’t see a studio market a film this aggressively if it doesn’t have complete faith in it. Fans can rejoice that their film stands head and shoulders above that other young-adult-book-series-turned-major-motion-picture that isn’t “Harry Potter.”

Not only can fans rejoice, but Lionsgate Films is also celebrating — all the way to the bank.  According to a March 25 IGN report, “The Hunger Games” has the third-highest grossing debut weekend of all times.  Coming in behind “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2” at number two and “The Dark Knight” at number one.

If you haven’t seen it yet, prepare yourself for stares of disbelief from all your friends. Happy Hunger Games.