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Officials expect 'Hunger Games' to feed NC tourism

Posted March 14, 2012

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— North Carolina is poised to reap major dividends from tourism with the opening of “The Hunger Games,” the highest-profile movie ever made in the state, officials said Wednesday.

Shot on locations and sets from Concord to Barnardsville, the film is based on the opening novel in a wildly popular futuristic trilogy by Suzanne Collins. With 23.5 million books in print in the U.S., the trilogy has attracted an avid following that aligns with the prime 12- to 29-year-old movie audience, officials said.

“The movie is already a winner for us,” Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said in a statement, noting the filmmakers spent more than $60 million in North Carolina.

"Now, fans are eager to come see the locations and go to the restaurants, neighborhoods and other places the stars visited," he said. "The money they spend here will be a second payoff for taxpayers.”

The state Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development sees the same potential for “The Hunger Games" as the wave of tourism the vampire romance "Twilight" generated in Washington state in 2008. Sony Hack The Interview Out & About: Movie listings & showtimes

New travel tools at VisitNC.com will guide visitors to film sites, star hangouts, and places that connect with the characters and other elements of the novel.

“Reading the book, we realized that North Carolina offers visitors a rich, authentic experience,” Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for tourism, marketing and global branding, said in a statement.

The forests old mill villages of western North Carolina and wilderness survival training at Nantahala Outdoor Center and the U.S. National Whitewater Center help visitors relate to the film, Minges said.

"The Hunger Games" underscores the value of new incentives state lawmakers put in place to attract film and television productions to North Carolina, officials said.

“The incentive was a major factor in the filmmakers’ decision to come here,” Aaron Syrett, director of the North Carolina Film Office, said in a statement. “The incentive completed the package, which included the locations and the state’s well-developed infrastructure."

“The Hunger Games" helped the state film industry generate a record $220 million in spending for 2011, the incentive’s first year, Syrett said.

“We’ll be even happier if it helps tourism reach new heights for 2012 and beyond,” he said.

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  • superman Mar 15, 2012

    Does this mean new road construction, restaurants, and hotels to accomodate the huge crowds? Maybe I should set up a taco stand along the road. Maybe they will also visit the convention center in Raleigh. The state should build a toll road and rake in some extra money.

  • rand321 Mar 14, 2012

    what a great book and wonderful movie!

  • notbatman Mar 14, 2012

    @karmstr9-Yes, there are teen killings in the movie, just like in real life. The story is about far more than that. It is about strength of family, self-reliance, politics, government policy, and divisions between social classes. I am 50-ish, and I am reading and enjoying these books, as are many of my adult friends. I will definitely see the movie!

  • stonky Mar 14, 2012

    is this the game where you tie a twinkie to a stick, then mount it on a hungry homeless person and tell him " if he gets it, he can have it"

  • Ex-Republican Mar 14, 2012

    "“The movie is already a winner for us,” Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said in a statement, noting the filmmakers spent more than $60 million in North Carolina."

    What's our state budget, $19.7 billion dollars? $60 million is about .3% of that. Or, just about enough to build a nice high school football stadium with adequate paved parking.

    Just putting things into perspective.

  • bitsyfae1 Mar 14, 2012

    Arch Liberal...why would you say to stay away from Barnardsville? Its a beautiful little mountain town situated in good proximity to Asheville and Weaverville with extremely convenient access to many Pisgah Forest Mountain trails. I will stay away from the zip lines though thank you.

  • karmstr9 Mar 14, 2012

    i am very happy that the state of NC is benefiting from this movie as far as revenue from tourism, but I am not thrilled that the movie depicts teens killing other teens. I have not read the book but have read a few reviews to see if it would be a good movie to watch. Am I incorrect to understand that there is quite a bit of teen killings in it?

  • superman Mar 14, 2012

    I havent seen or watched a movie since the Titanic when it was released on DVD several years ago! I prefer to keep my money in my own pocket.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 14, 2012

    Hmm first I ever heard of Hunger Games. Well if it brings in people that can spend some money that is good for the businesses that will receive the tourist dollars. Guess I will have to look for the books in the library to see if I might be interested in reading them.

  • Pepe Silvia Mar 14, 2012

    "Until this article I aint never heard of Hungry Game so how big could it be?" - nineproblems

    Sorry, but using the phrase "...I aint never heard of..." isn't really making you sound like the kind of person who is educated of the world around them.

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