Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny in 'Civil War'

A24 Is Getting Roasted for AI-Generated ‘Civil War’ Posters

Another week, another AI controversy. This time, A24 is getting dragged online for releasing a series of seemingly AI-generated posters to promote Civil War.

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A24 published multiple new posters to promote Civil War, Alex Garland’s speculative thriller about journalists covering a harrowing war in a near-future version of the United States. The images, which were shared to the studio’s official Instagram account, depict various cities affected by the eponymous war, including Miami, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Each poster contains a recognizable landmark—the Sphere, the Golden Gate Bridge, Washington Square Park—amid visible signs of destruction and chaos.

Commenters called out A24 for using images generated by AI, which tends to produce obvious mistakes or “hallucinations,” including six-fingered hands and compositing vehicles to create cars that don’t exist. You can see the latter in the Miami poster, where the city street is lined with damaged cars, many of which don’t resemble actual vehicles; one of the cars has three doors. Commenters also pointed out that the poster for Chicago shows two buildings on opposite sides of the river when those same buildings are situated next to each other in real life. Other commenters lost the plot entirely, calling out the posters for including imagery that wasn’t shown in the film, as if this isn’t already a common practice in marketing. The concept—how various cities not depicted in Civil War might be faring during the titular conflict—isn’t the problem. The problem is using AI to generate imagery that could be done better by a skilled person. Of course, skilled people tend to want money for their labor.

“For a company that seemingly values artistry, using AI generated works for advertising is a real bummer,” said one commenter. Others posted similar complaints, concerned about A24’s seeming embrace of a technology that relies on artwork produced by actual humans to create composite or “remixed” images meant to be indiscernible from the real thing. Most instances of AI-generated artwork in movies and TV have been clocked almost immediately, including Marvel’s use of AI in the opening credits of Secret Invasion and brief images of AI-generated network interstitials in Late Night With the Devil.

For every glaring use of AI, however, there are presumably numerous other ways in which the technology is being used in Hollywood. A recent lawsuit over Prime Video’s Road House remake accused Amazon Studios of using AI to hastily complete production and avoid a lapse in copyright. I’ve also seen rumors that Sony used AI in post-production on Madame Web, specifically for ADR to replace the villain’s dialogue.

A24 has yet to comment on the Civil War posters and the images are still up on the studio’s Instagram page as of this writing.

(featured image: A24)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.