'12 Years a Slave’ Posters Featuring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender Will Be Taken Down

'12 Years a Slave' Posters Featuring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender Will Be Taken Down

Lionsgate removing Italian theater posters that play up white actors over Oscar frontunner's star Chiwetel Ejiofor

Lionsgate was scrambling Tuesday to take down posters for “12 Years a Slave” from Italian movie theaters, after complaints that they subjugated black star Chiwetel Ejiofor in favor of the better-known and white stars Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender.

Some of the posters had Pitt front and center, others featured Fassbender; in both, star Ejiofor is pictured much smaller in the lower corner running as the main character, Solomon Northrup.

The misrepresentation of  director Steve McQueen's brutal slavery saga, a frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar, set off a storm in the blogosphere, after it was pointed out late Monday by Carefree Black Girl.

Also read: 5 Reasons '12 Years a Slave’ Is No Oscar Lock: Backlash, the Unseen and McQueen

When Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment, which is distributing “12 Years” in Italy, became aware of the posters, it said they “were unauthorized and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film,” in a statement.

Italian distributor BIM Distribuzione wasn't talking, but most of the offending posters had removed by late Tuesday night, according to a people familiar with the matter.

pitt.poster.insideIt's not unusual for foreign exhibitors to play up the biggest name stars to sell U.S. movies, but this one drew fire because Ejiofor is very much the center of the film as a man kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Also read: As Critics’ Awards Keep Coming, It's Turning Into a '12 Years a Slave’ Runaway

Pitt, who is a producer on the film, plays a minor role as a Canadian carpenter and Fassbender is a cruel slave master.

“Summit Entertainment, acting as exclusive sales agent for the licensors, is investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled,” the studio said after reports about the posters surfaced.

The $20 million drama from Regency Enterprises and the U.K.'s FilmFour has brought in more than $37 million at the box office in North America for distributor Fox Searchlight. A re-release is planned after the Oscar nominations on Jan. 16.

“12 Years a Slave” is just beginning its foreign run. Summit has the international rights, with the exception of the U.K., where FilmFour has them.




  • oldbuildingsrule

    hah, oh my god! Making crap out of nothing. Reap what you've sewn, libtard Brad Pitt.

    • UWIR

      Using a variant of “retard” as an insult, while showing yourself too ignorant to know the difference between “sewn” and “sown”. How classy.

      • oldbuildingsrule

        Yep, just like a liberal to jump all over correct spelling and education. I'm talking about the wrong thinking of liberals (now forced on everybody).

        • UWIR

          You're the one who brought up the idea of insulting people based on their perceived intelligence. I was simply pointing out your hypocrisy.

  • Galena Foster

    Who is carefree black girl? And why is her name all over the internet specifically quoted in journalists articles? And is this a ploy to get sympathy votes with Academy voters? Two questions I'd like the answers to.

  • Dee

    box office draw backfire.

  • SallyinChicago

    My understanding is that the movie is opening overseas in India? Why India? It's one of the most backwards countries on earth; really! They're mean to women, treat them like 2nd class, no–3rd class citizens. And don't get me started about the color of Indians and the caste system. WHY would 12 Years producers EVEN think about opening the movie overseas in such a backwards country?

    • NitinInIndia

      I'm from India, and I'm looking forward to this movie when it opens here on 21st Feb 2014, just before it's final release in Japan in March 2014.
      And you should read a bit more, it's not good to generalise an entire nation because of a few criminals.
      And isn't it a bit ironic that I've to tell you about it on an article about racism with the poster of a movie about slavery.

    • UWIR

      Maybe they think that exposing Indians to American culture would be a better way of promoting change than simply criticizing them?

  • hambone

    carefree might have thought she was helping, but may be hurting. In Italy, “only 870.000 are from Africa.” Not a huge black population, so a poster trying to attract a larger white population also would help the movie. I think the poster should have been left alone.

    • Kenesha Williams

      Is it your understanding that because of the racial makeup of the country, they wouldn't want to see a well made film about slavery in America? If that is your line of thinking, then why bring the movie to any other countries at all? If the movie going public knows the subject matter of the film, then having an accurate portrayal of the film shouldn't be an issue. Why try and trick people into seeing a movie if they don't want to see a movie on the subject of slavery with a black protagonist?

      • hambone

        What I am saying is that Brad Pitt may have many Italian fans. The poster would get their attention. A person can want to see a film about slavery and also be a Brad Pitt fan. It is no trick. The poster has Brad Pitt and the slave not just Brad Pitt. And the title with running slave on it lets them know its about slave. I didn't see it as disrespect to a great black actor, but marketing.
        ( On one Mission Impossible movie they had posters with only one of the characters on it )

    • UWIR

      You post seems to be based on the presumption that carefree's goal was to maximize the profits of the movie industry, rather than to advance social justice. Unless you think that tricking people into seeing movies about black people by trading on white privilege is conducive to social justice?

      • hambone

        I have praise for carefree because I think she believed the poster was disrespectful to the starring black actor and took action. Her heart was in the right place.However, I don't think it was a trick , but a way to attract Brad Pitt fans who care about social justice.

        • oldbuildingsrule

          You don't know a thing about justice. Justice is keeping nigs separate from other races because they rape and murder with guns!!! You arrogant libs know NOTHING of justice, right, wrong, and what’ truly going on. I live in the Detroit area. They do unspeakable crimes to their own kind multiple times per day, have laid waste to our once beautiful city, and, thanks to you dumb liberals, are invading our suburbs at an alarming rate, putting guns to our heads, and kidnapping and killing us (women included)!! To hear your nauseating banter every f ing day and rubbing our noses in your bull crap is unforgiveable EVIL!!! F you F you F you!@!!!!!!E!E!@# Go to Hell, libtards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WalterFeldman

    Gasp, unbelievable that they would be so racist as to have their promo posters prominently feature Hollywood stars instead of an unknown actor…

    • oldbuildingsrule


  • Brian

    Am I the only one who wondered who Danni Schiavo was? :P

  • justsayin

    that poster was obviously unapproved. i mean, who would approve a movie poster designed like that right? looks more like a book cover for a gay romance novel.