April 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM ET
Panem's District 12, the bleak mining district where Katniss Everdeen lived in "The Hunger Games," didn't exactly look like a cozy place to make your home. But if you're a true fan, with a Capitol-sized bank account, you can do just that.
Wade Shepherd, 83, is selling 72 acres of property in Hildebran, N.C., and his land stood in for Katniss' home district in the blockbuster film. But Katniss herself could never afford it. The price tag is a cool $1.4 million.
The land Shepherd is selling is the Henry River Mill Village, once a bustling mill area that emptied after its factory burned in 1977. Since the mill was destroyed, only about 20 buildings remain, including the company store, which stood in for Peeta's family bakery.
Since the movie’s March 21 release, fans have stalked the property to get a glimpse of what was home for the film’s primary characters, Katniss, Peeta and Gale.
Shepherd told the Associated Press, "I'm getting too many visitors…Day and night, they're driving through, taking pictures, getting out and walking. I'm just bombarded with people."
Shepherd told AP he didn’t think he could make enough money to make the area worth opening as a tourist attraction, so he will sell off his property instead.
The rest of the area has moved quickly to profit on the burgeoning tourist industry that came with “The Hunger Games.” Lionsgate Films reportedly invested over $60 million to shoot in North Carolina, and since filming wrapped, VisitNC.com has put together a four-day tour leading fans to District 12.
Travelers can even order eggs, Josh Hutcherson-style, at the Early Girl Eatery, where the actor was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly. (The restaurant isn't revealing the preparation technique, but reportedly will make the eggs as Hutcherson had them for those who ask.)
Another company known as “Hunger Games Fan Tours” enlists actors to re-enact scenes and engage participants in archery, camouflage, and fire-building. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Leigh Trapp, co-creator of the project.
“What we really found was that kids loved it, and so did the adults,” Trapp told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “The adults really became kids again. It’s like going to summer camp. You form intimate bonds with people who are like-minded and want to participate.”
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