Chinese officials have laughed off reports they have renamed a mountain after James Cameron's sci-fi hit "Avatar", insisting posters suggesting a name-change were simply part of a promotional stunt. Reports surfaced on Tuesday, January 26 alleging South Sky Pillar in Zhangjianjie, southern China would now be known as Avatar Hallelujah Mountain on maps and guides because of its likeness to the peaks featured in the blockbuster film.
But the head of the city's tourism department, Ding Yunyong, has played down the claims. He says, "We just put a poster of two pictures comparing South Sky Pillar with Hallelujah Mountain to show people evidence that the Avatar mountain originated here. It is a source of pride to Zhangjiajie."
However, state reports allege authorities backtracked over plans to officially rename the mountain after the idea provoked outrage from locals. The Xinhua news agency claims Chinese citizens attacked the plans and "accused officials of being money-oriented and blindly worshipping Western culture". "Avatar" made history this week when the movie toppled Cameron's other blockbuster, "Titanic", as the highest-grossing movie of all time.