Hollywood poster blunder sparks online backlash in Hong Kong

  • TECH
  • Monday, 22 Aug 2016

HONG KONG: A poster for upcoming Hollywood movie Arrival mistakenly featuring a Shanghai landmark on Hong Kong’s skyline was taken down from the film’s official Facebook page on Aug 19 after sparking outrage and ridicule. 

Hong Kong is deeply divided over mainland China’s governance of the city, with many angered by what they see as Beijing’s tightening grip, and the error sparked a torrent of comments on social media under the hashtags #HongKongisnotChina and #HongKongindependence. 

Others called for a boycott of the film, due for release in November. 

The poster showed a giant vertical spaceship over the semi-autonomous city’s harbour with the Oriental Pearl Tower, perhaps Shanghai’s best known landmark, prominently featured in the foreground. 

”Please remove this ugly tower from Victoria Harbour,” Facebook user Chin Chiu-man commented, while another angry user said: “Why don’t you put a pyramid in New York”. 

The poster was still displayed on the official Facebook page on Thursday evening but was replaced by a message on Friday blaming a contractor for the gaffe. 

”An error in one in a series of posters for Arrival was made by a third party vendor,” the message read. 

”We are disappointed to have not caught the error,” it added. 

Hong Kong was returned to China by former colonial ruler Britain in 1997 under the agreement that its freedoms would be guaranteed for 50 years. 

But there are growing concerns Beijing is no longer adhering to the deal and critics accuse it of interference in a wide range of areas, from politics to the media and education. 

So-called localist groups are pushing for more autonomy for Hong Kong, characterising it as culturally separate from the mainland. 

A fledgling independence movement is calling for a break from the mainland after mass pro-democracy rallies in 2014 calling for fully free leadership elections ended without concessions from Beijing. 

The idea of independence is dismissed as illegal by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities, and was a taboo subject until recent months. 

Arrival stars actors Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner and is directed by Canada’s Denis Villeneuve. It opens in the United States and other major markets in November. 

The Oriental Pearl Tower and the Hong Kong skyline are not thought to have featured in any of the film’s trailers so far released. — AFP

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