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The Hunger Games Is Getting More People Interested in Archery

For Hunger Games fans, there's a new hobby in town: archery

Catching Fire, the newest movie in the Hunger Games series, made over $150 million on opening weekend. The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, an incredibly talented archer. So talented, in fact, that she has been able to inspire hoards of young girls to pick up the bow as well.

Grace Hood at NPR talked to one newly minted archer, 7-year-old Y’Jazzmin Christopher, whose mother Alicia just purchased a recurved bow like the one Catniss uses in the movie.

Alicia recently purchased a recurve bow for Y’Jazzmin. It cost about $130. And while that may sound pricey, archery store owner Boyd Wild says the high demand for recurve bows — the type Katniss uses in The Hunger Games — makes it hard to keep some models in stock.

“It’s taking about five months to get traditional bows right now,” Wild says. “I mean, it’s just going nuts all over the United States.”

It’s not like the Hunger Games is the first movie to feature incredible archery, either. But according to Denise Parker, the CEO of USA Archery, this is the first time they’ve really seen a jump in interest from people. “We didn’t see that coming,” she told Hood. “We’ve had archery in other movies, but never kind of that whole momentum at one time.” And, as Ethan Gach at Forbes points out, just because a weapon is featured in a big blockbuster doesn’t necessarily mean good PR for those who use it:

Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, for all its success, didn’t exactly inspire the masses to learn Keysi, the mixed martial arts form utilized in the films. Nor have the majority of recent action blockbusters, ranging from The Bourne Legacy to Skyfall, awakened a new found passion for gunmanship across the country.

But for Hunger Games fans, there’s something about Katniss’s character that drove them to the archery range. For Parker, it’s all about Katniss as a character. She told the Journal Times:

“But what is so amazing with “Hunger Games” is that you have this character, Katniss, who is confident and beautiful, and the way she uses the bow is an extension of that. That is what really resonates and makes people want to try this.”

Whatever it is, archery ranges are suddenly struggling to keep up with demand.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Butch Johnson’s Guide to Watching Archery
A montage of a Japanese mounted archery festival

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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