Most U.S. citizens didn’t blink an eye when 12 posters were released for the new Denis Villeneuve directed sci-fi thriller Arrival, which came along with the first trailer. But those living in Hong Kong certainly stood up and took notice. And they’re not happy about what they saw. Many of the locals have taken to Facebook and other forms of social media to voice their dismay. So, what could be so wrong about a simple one-sheet that shows an ominous alien craft hovering over the city?
The twelve posters show twelve different cities around the globe as aliens arrive, presumably to take over the planet. The poster that represents Hong Kong shows the black orb hovering over Victoria Harbour. No one is sure if it is just a matter of artistic license or a what was supposed to be a fun Easter egg, but a geography error places Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower in the foreground of this image. And it has caused quite an uproar amongst Hong Kong denizens.
The hashtag #HongKongIsNotChina was lunched across various social media platforms in response. There are now over 2,400 comments logged into one section of Arrival‘s official Facebook page. One reason the poster is causing such a stir is because, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, the inclusion of this landmark represents “an inadvertent metaphor for the perceived encroaching influence”, which China has had on Hong Kong recently.
Arrival is one of the more anticipated movies of the fall season, and it is already garnering Oscar buzz, even if it is a high-concept sci-fi thriller. Back in 2014, Paramount Pictures paid a then record $20 million for the U.S., Canada and Chinese rights for distribution. And the first full-length trailer that launch this week has been highly praised. The story is based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 novella Story Of Your Life, which was the original title of movie when it was entering production last year. This unique and timely story touches on the global community’s fear of aliens, as they share information with one another while harboring their own agendas. Amy Adams stars as a linguist who is recruited by the military to communicate with the aliens as the world teeters on the edge of all-out war. Arrival will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this September.
Deadline has reached out to Paramount, who currently have no comment about the poster at this time. It is interesting to note that none of the other 12 posters show geographical errors. And Hong Kong Free Press has pointed out that the coordinates at the bottom right of this particular Hong Kong poster actually point towards Shanghai and not Hong Kong. You can take a look at the full poster here, along with the other 12 that were released. The Hong Kong poster is first.