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Avatar, a famous film marketed as James Cameron's Avatar, is a 2009 American epic science fiction filmdirected, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana,Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are colonizing Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, in order to mine the mineral unobtanium, a room-temperature superconductor. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body with the mind of a remotely located human that is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.

For the film's floating "Hallelujah Mountains", the designers drew inspiration from "many different types of mountains, but mainly the karst limestone formations in China." According to production designer Dylan Cole, the fictional floating rocks were inspired by Zhangjiajie, among others around the world.Director Cameron had noted the influence of the Chinese peaks on the design of the floating mountains.

>> Tourism chiefs in central China have moved to cash in on the smash-hit popularity of James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar by renaming a peak the "Hallelujah Mountain after the floating rocks in the film.

A 1,074-metre tall (3,523ft) column of rock in the Wulingyuan Scenic Zone in Hunan Province previously known as the was Southern Sky Column was re-christened in a special ceremony this week involving hundreds of local people dressed in the region's ethnic Tujia costumes.

The park, a World Natural Heritage site, formed part of the inspiration for the floating mountains in the film which this week officially become China's most popular film, grossing more than $100m at the box office.

Hollywood photographers spent four days in 2008 taking pictures of the mountains that inspired the movie, with about 25 minutes of the film shot there, Song Zhiguang, director of the Yuanjiajie Scenic Spot Administration, told the official Xinhua news agency.

"Pandora [the Eden-like planet where the film is set] is far but Zhangjiajie is near," Song said. "Tourists are welcome to the 'Miracle tour to Avatar's floating mountains,'" he said.

The move attracted some criticism from China's nationalist internet commentariat, but Mr Song denied his agency was pandering shamelessly to foreign mores.

>>  Zhangjiajie also belongs to the world.

"Zhangjiajie is the world's natural heritage. The gorgeous beauty of it doesn't only belong to the Chinese people, it also belongs to the whole world. By changing the name from "South Pillar of Heaven" to "Hallelujah Mountain", we are sending a message: Zhangjiejie doesn't only belong to the world, it embraces the world!" he said enthusiastically.

Despite a fall in tourist numbers during the financial crisis, China is working hard to expand international tourism with almost 22 million visits in 2009, up from 16m two years ago. More than 500,000 Britons visited China for tourism last year, according to China's National Tourism Administration.

The huge success of Avatar in China has eclipsed China's own state-backed biopic of Confucius which opened in China last Friday, pushing Avatar off the nation's 4,700 2D screens to the disappointment of many people who appear to have voted with their feet.

Despite its fast-paced portrayal of the sage's life and the casting of Chow Yun-fat, the Chinese-speaking world's most iconic movie star in the lead role, "Confucius" grossed just $5.5m in its first three days, barely a third of the $16m garnered by Avatar.

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