Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.
Has The Hunger Games triggered Americans’ interest in archery? The bow-and-arrow sport is NBC’s No. 1 cable ratings winner, the network says, averaging 1.5M daytime viewers. NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics is breaking records and an upswing in interest in archery given the popularity of the film is serendipitous.
“Maybe it’s the Hunger Games phenomenon”, NBC research exec Alan Wurtzel said. He likened its popularity to the surprise interest in curling events of the Vancouver winter games two years ago. “The numbers for archery have been nothing less than huge.” Bigger, even, than numbers for basketball but individual Team USA games in that sport still perform better.
In The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen learned archery so she can provide for her starved family. It’s not impossible to believe that there’s a good amount of crossover interest from fans of the movie. In the wake of its release, sports shops all over the US reported a rise in sales of archery equipment, while ranges were said to be overflowing with teens. Lawrence was trained by five-time Team USA Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig, who scored the first perfect bullseye of her career at the London games, taking out a camera embedded in the board in the process.