District 9 is a 2009 South African science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson. The film stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, and Robert Hobbs. Copley plays the role of Wikus van de Merwe, a bureaucrat assigned to relocate a stranded alien species from a refugee camp in Johannesburg, South Africa to a new one outside the city. After his exposure to a substance that alters his DNA, Wikus must help the aliens escape the planet to save his own humanity.
The story, adapted from Alive in Joburg, a 2005 short film directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Sharlto Copley, deals with the issues ofxenophobia and social segregation. The title and premise of District 9 were inspired by historical events that took place in South Africa under apartheid in a residential area of Cape Town named District Six. The film was produced for $30 million and shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto, presenting fictional interviews, news footage, and video from surveillance cameras in the style of a mock documentary. A viral marketing campaign began in 2008 at the San Diego Comic-Con, and the theatrical trailer appeared in July 2009. Released on August 14, 2009 in North America byTriStar Pictures, the film received positive reviews and earned $37 million on its opening weekend.