Hunger Games Locations
Most of the Hunger Games filming locations are in the western half of North Carolina, between Charlotte and Asheville. According to author Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen's home, District 12, was the poorest, smallest District and was aptly filmed in what was once Appalachia.
Appalachia is made up of an abandoned textile town. Ever since the thriving community left all hopes of building their lives there after the mid-80s manufacturing collapse, they left everything and migrated to other cities to find employment. The Hunger Games perfectly captured this abject abandonment, lost hope, and drab, bleak atmosphere as District 12. This village town is slowly coming back to life as people offer guided tours, events, and restored houses for visitors.
Other notable locations in North Carolina are Shelby, Henry River Mill Village (another ghost town), Pisgah National Forest, Big Ivy Area, the Knight Theater, North Fork Reservoir, DuPont State Forest, and Triple Falls (which was also used as a filming location for The Last of the Mohicans in 1991).
Teaser: Visitors can visit all the filming locations of Hunger Games quite easily and can also camp out in the forest (with permission). You can also visit the ghost towns, click pictures in front of Peeta Mellark's bakery and Katniss' house, and see the riverside scene where Katniss and Gale share a moment.
The Hunger Games won 1 BAFTA Award, with 33 wins in other awards (including Empire Awards, Grammy's, and MTV Movie Awards) with 48 total nominations. It grossed $2.97 billion globally at the Box Office.
Katniss and Gale's hunting scene in Hunger Games
Big Ivy Area, Pisgah National Forest
This scene is one of the opening ones in Hunger Games when Katniss is out to hunt deer for her family. Since she belongs to District 12, there is a lot of poverty and hunger, and teenagers must become self-reliant at an early age or eventually starve. Katniss is a skilled hunter and nimbly tracks a deer and follows its movement signs. She finally sees the deer, knocks her bow and arrow, and is about to take a shot when Gale yells from behind, "What are you gonna do with that when you kill it? What are you gonna do with a 100-pound deer, Catnip? It's Reaping Day." He jokingly calls her Catnip. The deer gets startled and runs away even as Katniss lets loose her arrow.
This scene and the line that Katniss says, "Damn you, Gale, that's not funny!" became quite famous, with many couples using the dialogue to imitate Katniss. This exchange between Katniss and Gale is probably one of the only funny scenes in Hunger Games because what follows is quite traumatic, with Katniss eventually volunteering as tribute.
This scene and the tracking are shot in North Carolina's Big Ivy Area, also known as Coleman's Boundary. It is part of the famous Pisgah National Forest, just northeast of Asheville. Later in the movie, it is also used again as part of the Arena Cave (where Katniss and Peeta hide). To get to the Big Ivy Area, follow Route 197, North Forks Road from Asheville, and turn right onto Dillingham Road till you reach the forest boundary.
Katniss spends time with her mother and sister scene in Hunger Games
Henry River Mill Village
In this scene, Katniss is with her mother and sister, Primrose getting ready for the reaping ceremony where tributes are chosen to participate in the games. Their mother has kept aside a blue-colored dress for Katniss to wear for the reaping ceremony, so she also looks nice like Primrose.
After she gets dressed (in one of the last few scenes with her sister), Primrose tells Katniss, "Wish I looked like you," to which Katniss replies, "Oh no. I wish I looked like you, little duck." As they speak to each other, alarms start blaring outside, reminding everyone about the blood ceremony lines for the reaping. Katniss gives Primrose a pin saying, "It's a Mockingjay pin. To protect you. As long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you."
This scene is shot in the abandoned Henry Mill Village near Hildebran and Appalachia. Out of all the Hunger Games locations, this village and most of the houses here are in dilapidated conditions, and it is perilous to enter the abandoned homes. It is best to click photographs from outside. To get here from Asheville, get on the I-240 E, and follow the I-40 E to exit 119A. Then, turn right onto Henry River Rd to reach the village. Sadly, there are no buses or trains to this location.
Katniss volunteers as tribute scene in Hunger Games
Private Warehouse, South Lafayette Street, Shelby
In this scene, all the teenagers are seen walking dejectedly and making lines in front of tables where they prick the fingers of the tributes as a sign-in and read the D.N.A. (with an advanced scanning machine). There are large screens set up everywhere for people across Panem to see the reaping ceremony that decides the tributes for the games.
The children are welcomed by Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and are shown a film introducing the games where one young girl and boy will be chosen as a tribute to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, sacrifice, and courage. Effie randomly selects a chit from an open fishbowl and reads the name, "Primrose Everdeen!" Katniss and Primrose are shocked, and as Primrose is slowly walking to the stage, Katniss steps out of the line and screams, "I volunteer as Tribute!" Thus, starting a chain of events that are gruesome and bloody yet strategically brilliant.
This iconic reaping is one of the best scenes in Hunger Games and is shot at a private warehouse on South Lafayette Street in Shelby. Once you're in Shelby city, you can ask anyone about the Reaping location. They will point you towards Campbell St and then to Lafayette St. For lunch, you should try the Pleasant City Wood Fired Grill, located within walking distance.
Katniss and Peeta are on fire in the chariot scene in Hunger Games
Charlotte Convention Center
As the tributes are selected, they are whisked away to the Capitol, where their training begins. Katniss and Peeta are dumbstruck by the rich's opulent luxury, extravagance, and lifestyles. They also meet the District 12 mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), who welcomes them while he's roaring drunk and tells them, "Embrace the probability of your imminent death, and know in your heart that there's nothing I can do to save you."
Once they reach the Capitol, Katniss meets the stylist Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who tells her, "I'm here to help you make an impression." At the Tribute Parade, Katniss and Peeta are on the District 12 chariot towards the back, and as the parade starts, their costumes light up with fire (they are wearing fire-proof apparel) to show they are from the coal mining district and wear their fire proudly. This Hunger Games film scene is exceptionally eye-catching as it is the first time everyone else catches a glimpse of Katniss and Peeta. They hold hands, and the crowd goes crazy!
The entire Tribute Parade is filmed at the Charlotte Convention Center at 501 South College Street. The Convention Center is extremely popular and hosts exhibitions, galas, and meeting and convention spaces. From the Charlotte Transportation Center, hop onto bus numbers 5, 10, or 19, till Brevard St and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, and walk for a minute to reach the Convention Center.
The tributes' training scene in Hunger Games
Old Philip Morris Cabarrus Plant, 2321 Concord Parkway South
Once the pomp is over, the 24 tributes (2 from each of the 12 districts) are sent to the training area to start their weapons familiarization. Here, the trainer explains to them that there are only 4 days to start the Games, and only one will be left alive.
She explains the 'No Fighting' rule to them and then the four compulsory exercises, followed by the individual training. She finally says to them, "My advice is don't ignore the survival skills. Everybody wants to grab a sword, but most of you will die from natural causes. 10% from infection, 20% from dehydration. Exposure can kill as easily as a knife."
Katniss takes these words to heart and starts training diligently with her trainers for a shot at survival. Since no one knows what challenges lie ahead, each day is a bonus for the tributes. As the training progresses, the trials become increasingly tricky, with many tributes getting hurt.
The entire training scene and the set were shot at the old Philip Morris Cabarrus Plant. It was used as a studio, and The Hunger Games production team built the sets from scratch. You need to follow the Concord Parkway South to the George Liles Pkwy exit and turn left onto New Town Wy S.W. Some of these roads are restricted, so you may need to check about permissions.
Katniss and Peeta interview pre-game scene in Hunger Games
Knight Theater, Charlotte
The theater scene is a pre-game interview with each of the 24 tributes before they walk to their extremely gruesome deaths. This so-called interview is alarming because no one seems to mourn these teenagers. Everybody is only celebrating the possibility of their lives ending on national T.V.
Conducted by Panem's celebrity host Caesar Flickerman (portrayed by Stanley Tucci), the interviews are a mockery of all the starving, poor people in Panem. When Caesar asks Katniss if the flames on the Tribute Parade were real, she replies, "Yes. In fact, I'm wearing them today. Would you like to see?" She gets up, twirls, and the lower portion of her red dress with gemstones turns fiery. When she stops twirling, the flames recede.
This scene with all the interviews was shot at the prestigious Knight Theater in Charlotte. Visitors can book tickets to the theater for the Charlotte Symphony and the North Carolina Dance Troupe. They can also see the latest performing arts and book advanced viewing tickets for a beautiful evening out. To get here from Charlotte Convention Center, head northeast on S College St and turn left at E.M.L.K. Jr Blvd left onto S Tryon St, and right on Levine Avenue, turn right again, and you're just 5 minutes away from both significant Hunger Games filming locations.
The Hunger Games action scenes and locations fit the book adaptations and descriptions perfectly without losing out on the essential flavor of a dystopian reality. Hunger Games managed to bring together the positives of capitalism and globalization in stark contrast to the impoverished 'Districts' that Katniss and Peeta come from.
The film's entire premise, from its abject poverty-stricken, dejected areas and natural beauty to the stark, dystopian, wealthy, materialistic Capitol, gives audiences a reason to pause and think about the future. The movie was expertly made, with excellent filming locations like the ghost town of Henry River Mill Village, Pisgah National Forest, and the modernity of the Charlotte Convention Center and Knight Theater.
Viewers were appalled and enthralled in equal measure by the viciousness, bloodthirsty survival instincts, and sudden bursts of emotions. For fans of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy, this movie started an incredible journey that promised plenty more to come!