Hollywood confronts illegal aliens in Southern California


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Have you been wondering what’s going on with those strange ads on bus stops and billboards all around L.A.? You are not alone. Calendar’s Chris Lee gets to the bottom of the recent alien invasion:

The perplexing public-service announcements began turning up two weeks ago, splashed across bus-stop advertisements in America’s 15 biggest cities, including Los Angeles. ‘Bus bench for humans only,’ the ads’ banner copy proclaims, accompanied by a rough rendering of an outer space alien that has been crossed out, ‘Ghostbusters’ style, with a strike-through circle. ‘Beware! Non-human secretions may corrode metal!’


If you happen to be among the tens of thousands of inquiring minds who have called the posted telephone number (listed beneath the ominous-sounding imperative: ‘Report non-humans’) or punched its URL -- -- into an Internet browser, you may already know the ads’ true purpose. They are part of a viral marketing campaign for Sony Pictures’ documentary-style sci-fi thriller ‘District 9,’ which arrives in theaters in August.

‘We wanted to do something provocative and that would create a stir,’ said Marc Weinstock, Sony’s co-president of worldwide theatrical marketing. ‘But we had no idea to what extent we’d connect.’

Sony’s president of digital marketing, Dwight Caines, said: ‘In two weeks, there have been 33,000 phone calls. Two thousand five hundred people left voice messages about alien sightings. And 92% of those calls come from cellphones, indicating that people are opting in, on the spot, in the streets.’