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

by Sergio
December 23, 2013 2:02 PM
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12 Years A Slave 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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  • anon | December 25, 2013 6:12 PMReply

    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!

  • Carl | January 16, 2014 1:30 PM

    Why do some people take everything as racist... Do you think think Brad Pit might be the biggest star in the movie and would draw the bigger crowd in that demographic? Could it be that they weren't being racist and were trying to make a profit?

  • Jana Sante | December 24, 2013 9:55 AMReply

    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

  • Katie | December 24, 2013 9:37 AMReply

    Those posters make me sick.

  • Bforreal | December 23, 2013 11:31 PMReply

    Wow. I 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 Smh.

  • Ava | December 23, 2013 11:00 PMReply

    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.

  • BS | December 23, 2013 5:57 PMReply

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

  • g bradley | January 5, 2014 6:03 PM

    @BS. Oh, I understand. You're a special kind of bigot.

  • Nemesis | December 24, 2013 5:23 AM

    I'm sorry - I forgot to be grateful that everything is all about white people, even when it isn't. Gosh, how hateful of me. May my soul be saved... by a white person.

  • BS | December 23, 2013 8:56 PM

    Ah, I didn't know this was a hate white people fest. Actually, I had my suspicions... Don't worry though, there will always be a golden boy like Brad Pitt to come and save you. So, not ALL white people are bad.

  • Nemesis | December 23, 2013 7:46 PM

    If you mean the way in which they portrayed the all-pervasive, ever lingering and, more often than not, odiously stifling presence in the lives of black people (whose very existence was vilified, dehumanised and held in contempt unless for economic gain for white folks)... Yeah, I guess you have a point.

  • BS | December 23, 2013 7:23 PM

    No they play pretty white boys who both eclipse the slave's story in the second half of the movie. Well, Fassbender eclipses it, Brad just makes an unintentionally funny appearance.

  • Nemesis | December 23, 2013 6:55 PM

    More reflective of the movie? So, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender play slaves in the movie, one of whom was enslaved for 12 years...?

  • Carefree Black Girl | December 23, 2013 5:50 PMReply

    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 | December 23, 2013 5:37 PMReply

    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.

  • Jana Sante | December 24, 2013 8:44 AM

    Thank you @Andre Seewood. Beautifully articulated.
    I've been observing intra-Blackness trying to make meaning of these tweaked Italian campaign images since the moment they appeared. It's interesting to assess the perspective that deems the tweaking as having been done for none other than financial reasoning. One fellow just informed me that "it's not personal." I this to offer in return - "But at some point it becomes personal. From whence does the aformentioned creative team come to the conclusion that 'impact and reach' is maximised when the central Black protagonist of the movie is decisively minimised in the promotional visual? If advertising and marketing decisions are made with a consciousness of appeasing the interests of any given target audience- is it not always motivated by personal presumptions of what those interests might be and whose interests merit the most consideration?"

  • floyd webb | December 23, 2013 5:16 PMReply

    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!

  • CashAndCarry | December 23, 2013 4:07 PMReply

    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 | December 23, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    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.

  • Derek | December 23, 2013 2:51 PMReply

    #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.

  • Donella | December 23, 2013 2:34 PMReply

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

  • Nemesis | December 23, 2013 2:34 PMReply

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

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