Back when “Avatar” was just a gleam in James Cameron’s eye, a photographer took some shots of China’s “Southern Sky Column” (above, right), a series of finger-like mountain peaks in Zhangjiajie in the country’s southern Hunan province. Somehow, the story goes, pictures of this natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site made their way to the director, who recycled and reimagined the images of the craggy spires into the floating “Hallelujah Mountains” (above, left), a key location in the now record-setting adventure pic brought to life through CGI. Well, the Chinese have picked up this baton and are running with it, renaming the peaks the “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”, a scheme to bring tourists into the surrounding Wulingyan National Park. Given that the film has already become the highest earning movie in the history of China (and the rest of the world for that matter) we imagine more than a few fanboys, both local and foreign, will sign on for the already active “Avatar-Pandora Tours”. Only one hour from Zhangjiajie City airport, Wulingyan is a carefully preserved treasure on a kin with Yellowstone in importance and unmatched in its unique splendor and a two-day hiking pass is a bargain at around $36. Alas, there are no reports of any Unobtainium found in the surrounding areas.
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“China Renames Mountain That Inspired Avatar” [Gadling]