China renames mountain that inspired Avatar

While James Cameron’s latest epic, Avatar, continues to smash box office records around the globe, a remote Chinese mountain has been renamed to honor the film, and no doubt attract fans of Pandora in the process.

Located in the Zhangjiajie region of the Hunan province, the mountain was formerly known as the “Southern Sky Column”. Local officials claim that the rocky spire was the inspiration for the floating “Hallelujah Mountains”, the mystical floating peaks that are prominent in Avatar.

According to this story from Reuters, a Hollywood photographer was in the area in 2008 capturing the look of the mountain from a variety of angles. Those photos would later be used to construct the flying mountains of Pandora that would later appear in full 3D on the silver screen.

This past Monday a ceremony was held in Zhangjiajie to officially rename the peak “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”, and the local tourism board is hoping that fans of the blockbuster film will want to come visit the place for themselves. The mountain is located in the Wulingyan National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to more than 3000 similar peaks. Reportedly, local tourist agencies have already begun to offer “Avatar-Pandora Tours”, taking visitors to see the mountain, promising to deliver a bit of Pandora here on Earth.

As of this writing, Avatar has earned more than $80 million in China, making it the most popular film of all time in that country. Earlier this week, the film also passed the $1.84 billion mark in box office receipts, surpassing Titanic as the highest grossing film in history.