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Are These Really The ’12 Years A Slave’ Italian Release Posters?

Are These Really The '12 Years A Slave' Italian Release Posters?

Here’s your look at what might be Italian release posters for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, which turned up online over the weekend. Initially there was just one with Brad Pitt, which originated on the Tumblr blog Carefree Black Girl, where the blog’s author, who says she lives in Italy, claims she saw the poster at her local movie theater, and snapped the below photo. 

Since then, however, another image has appeared – this one with both Pitt and Michael Fassbender.

Our research can’t confirm nor deny whether these are indeed the real posters or a Photoshop job. And the film’s international distributor Summit Entertainment (owned by Lionsgate) hasn’t publicly addressed this, although given how fast the images have spread and been picked up by other media outlets, and the controversy caused, the distribution company will probably eventually say something.

If these are real, I could go on and on about it, but why should I? It pretty much speaks for itself. The obvious reason for it would be that Pitt and Fassbender, being international stars, will attract more Italian audiences. Their faces sells tickets, not Chiwetel Ejiofor’s, and if the poster advertised what the film is really about, no one in Italy would go see the film.

We wait to hear what Summit/Lionsgate has to say about it, if anything.

One thing for sure it’s funnier than anything Saturday Night Live has done in years.

Interestingly though, the trailer for the Italian release of the film looks like the American release. Nothing in it that emphasizes Brad Pitt or Fassbender.

Take a look at the posters first. And watch the Italian trailer underneath it:

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it is hysterical even in a so called black movie the whites STILL get top billing can they even see the irony of this? but you see this wasnt financed by a black production company was it? black people, if you want control of your image its not JUST enough to have a blk cast, subject matter and director you have to own and control EVERY aspect of the film from finance to distribution to advertising to theatre release and that obviously takes MONEY!

Jana Sante

This just in, c/o S&A's Sergio: 'Lionsgate to Pull Italian '12 Years A Slave' Following Controversy.' Well look at that result. Merry Christmas good people x


Those posters make me sick.


Wow. I mean…wow. Those posters are just so f-ed up on another level. Pardon my language. I mean, even in a slavery film, the black actor still ends up being displayed as secondary. In 2013. (Yes, I know that in the movie that is not the case – quite the opposite, actually. It is all about Chiwetel's character). But these posters…just…wow. Smh.


Okay, the film poster are ridiculous but hopefully it will lure Italians into the cinema. And someone please drag Berlusconi's ignorant azz in for a screening. He is in dire need of an education. I don't care if he's no longer head of state in Italy, just based on his stupid comments in the past, he ought to go.


The Italians are just more truthful than us Americans. I actually find these more reflective of the movie than the US poster.

Carefree Black Girl

I took this picture in a theather in Milan.What struck me about it was seeing it close to all the other posters of the upcoming releases such as "The Butler","Philomena" and while the other posters mainly featured the lead actor, this one didn't. I've been waiting to read press about this film in Italy too and I look forward to see it,but this was a bitter surprise.Especially from my point of view of Black Italian.

Andre Seewood

Although the change in marketing the film overseas might appear to be an innocuous non-issue, the reduction of Ejoifor's image and the enlargement of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender's images in the posters for 12 Years A Slave distorts both the theme and the context of the story within the film. It bespeaks of the displacement of the Black image for the safety, power and cultural privilege connoted by the White image with dominates the marketing and could mis-represent the thematic emphasis of the characters within the final film. The enlargement of the White image would seem to suggest that the image of Whites acts as a kind of "lingua franca" across the global and can therefore could be a powerful obstacle or a powerful technique to avancing African-American films to an international audience. That is to say, the Whites watching the film will invest more of their attention to the White characters that dominate the marketing of the film which could impact how they receive the story. Who is the film really about? Although, it is true that "Butts" are getting in the seats because of Brad Pitt's international reputation, but is it being accomplished at the expense of distorting the themes and prinicipal characters within the film? Such marketing tactics should perhaps not be entirely dismissed as prejudiced or racially insensitive, but should be studied for they reveal something significant about the White international movie going audience and the White controlled American Entertainment Complex… more on this later.

floyd webb

Who cares how they market the film in Italy as long as they fill the seats. This is kind of like a non-issue. When they walk out of the film they will KNOW who Brother Chi iz!


12 years a slave and the butler are playing in Greece with the same posters as in the U.S. unaltered and both movies are well rated and doing well with audience.

Miles Maker

I like the trailer better than our domestic version–it communicates the story more effectively. As for the signage–it has been brought to my attention that Brad Pitt is a big star in Italy and he is the spokesman for Chanel in Europe. Of course this doesn't explain the Fassbender version, and so it is. Let's celebrate the fact that Italy bought the film and reserves the right to use imagery and trailer art the way they see fit to recoup their purchase price and generate profits. As long as the same movie we saw plays to Italian audiences they'll emerge with a new perspective on the horrors of slavery in Solomon Winthrop's story.


#NoNeedtoSatirize. In this case, though, who cares is my reaction I guess. The beautiful thing about this movie is that it is everything that the poster is not. It's a departure in every way. And it's doing well. It's turning a profit. It's critically-acclaimed. As an artist, that's all I care about.


Chiwetel is an international star and has appeared in numerous large-scale productions.


So if Pitt represents the white saviour, then Fassbender must be… The white devil…?! :O

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