It's only been nine days since Arrival has begun its initial advertising blitz, and already the film has landed itself in hot water. Whoever was in charge of Photoshopping the poster excerpt above is being ripped a new one by the internet, as the poster depicting an alien spaceship invading Hong Kong has screwed up one major detail. That detail happens to be the fact that a landmark from Shanghai has been added into the image.
Variety noticed the backlash throughout the internet, in particular with those who hail from Hong Kong, as the image is one of the biggest gaffes when it comes to depicting a real world location. The snafu is so great that even the film's official Facebook page has been flooded with comments about how insensitive this error is perceived to be by Hong Kong residents. The issue has even gone as far as regional politics, where the accidentally incendiary advertisement has been mentioned in campaign speeches for an upcoming election.
So just how ridiculous is this unfortunate edit? If you enter the location of the landmark into Google Maps, which happens to be the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai, you'll see that to get there from Hong Kong, you'd either need to take a two hour flight, or roughly a day's worth of train rides. Yet there it is, sitting in the middle of Hong Kong's skyline where it doesn't belong. So unless the aliens in Arrival somehow removed the tower, and replanted it in Hong Kong, there's no chance of seeing this tower in Hong Kong ever. For reference, check out the photo of the real location where the Oriental Pearl TV Tower sits.
The overriding irony of this whole scenario is the fact that Arrival is all about Amy Adams' linguist character using attention to detail and the nuance of language to prevent any sort of mishaps with our alien visitors. Yet somehow, the marketing department didn't heed the lesson of their own movie, and have caused a controversial stir that potentially threatens the film's international distribution. Despite the fact that the film's message may not be offensive in any sort of manner, the fact that such a mistake could be made without a thought in the advertising campaign reflects pretty badly on the film.
So if the grosses for Hong Kong seem a little light when Arrival begins its release period, you know exactly the reason why. In fact, one has to wonder how this sort of scenario will affect the Chinese grosses, what with that market holding the keys to most films becoming international hits. Though much as Hong Kong isn't a fan of the Oriental Pearl Tower existing in their skyline, we'd be willing to bet that China is none to thrilled about the incident as well. We'll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops, and you can catch Arrival when it lands in theaters on November 11th.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.