2ND UPDATE, 4:10 PM: BIM Distribuzione has officially apologized for the 12 Years A Slave posters in Italy that featured more Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender than the film’s main star Chiwetel Ejiofor – ones that were unauthorized by Summit and Lionsgate. “We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for 12 Years A Slave in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.”
UPDATE, TUESDAY PM: We’ve now learned that Italian distributor BIM Distribuzione has agreed to stop distributing the materials in question and is in the process of recalling the unauthorized materials already in circulation.
PREVIOUSLY: Studios want to create buzz for their films, but you can probably bet this is not the kind of buzz envisioned for Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave. Posters for the race drama recently released in Italy feature separate images of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender (who had small roles in the pic) prominently over a much tinier image of the film’s main star, black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. Italy-based blogger Carefree Black Girl initially posted concerns about the posters, which in turn went viral. Now comes damage control. Lionsgate released the following statement: “The 12 Years A Slave theatrical posters featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender that were recently released in Italy were unauthorized and were not approved by any of the producers or licensors of the film. 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.”