Movie points teens toward archery


Katniss Everdeen probably never saw it coming.

Everdeen, the main character in “The Hunger Games” novels and subsequent film adaptation and portrayed onscreen by actress Jennifer Lawrence, uses the bow and arrow as her primary calling card as she fights for survival. It’s her prowess as an archer that has spurred a sudden resurgence in archery in real life.

“We had a lot of teenage girls come in right after the movie came out,” said Joe Koperski of Al and Bob’s Sports, 3100 S. Division Ave. “Most of them just asked a lot of questions and looked around, so I sent them to Black Dog Outfitters in Rockford.”

Kent Rice from Black Dog remembers those girls.

“We saw business pick up a bit because of the movie,” said Rice by phone from his store on 14 Mile Road NE in Rockford. “But archery is one of our niches anyway, and there are a lot of people interested in the sport here in Michigan — plus, bow season is coming up, so it’s a little hard to gauge.”

Frank Rus, owner of Archery Unlimited Inc. at 824 Lake Michigan Drive, echoed that thought.

“A lot of youth — especially young ladies — have come in over the past few months wanting to learn archery,” said Rus. “Most aren’t interested in hunting as much as just target shooting, and a lot of them come in with their boyfriends in tow, but they’re interested just the same and that’s been good for business. The bad economy hasn’t been very helpful, but we’ve recovered some of what we might have otherwise lost, thanks to that movie.”

Archery Unlimited offered a four-week archery course through LivingSocial, and many who signed up for the deal cited the movie as part of their interest.

“The Hunger Games” and its sequels, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” were written by author Suzanne Collins and tell the story of a futuristic world called Panem where the Capitol reigns supreme over its 12 districts. As a response to an uprising in years past, each year the names of one male and one female teen from each district are drawn to participate in a fight-to-the-death in “the arena.” The action is televised and painstakingly analyzed live in each district. Failure means death and success means a lifelong reprieve from poverty for the winner and his or her family.

“Hunger Games” the movie premiered in February and made its first West Michigan appearance in March. The sequel, “Catching Fire,” is currently in production with an expected release date of Nov. 22, 2013. The films star Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz.

So while Everdeen continues fighting for her life, the archery business seems to be booming with almost no struggle at all.

“Sometimes, you just get a gift you can’t refuse,” said Rus.

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