Civil War | A24 is promoting the film with AI-generated posters

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A series of posters promoting Alex Garland’s Civil War have emerged on Instagram, and appear to be generated with AI.

As Alex Garland’s searing dystopian thriller Civil War continues to spark online debate over its politics (or lack thereof), a whole separate controversy has suddenly surfaced. Boutique production company A24, seeking to promote the film, has published a series of digital posters on Instagram.

At first glance, the artwork looks of a piece with Garland’s film: they’re images of US locations overrun by military hardware or devastated by conflict. At second glance, there are all sorts of weird anomalies – the sorts of dreamlike mistakes that you often get from AI-generated imagery. One thing’s for sure: they aren’t stills from Civil War itself.

A24 published the posters on the 17th April with the caption, “America the beautiful #CivilWarMovie.”

The reaction from followers was swift and bracing. “I’m really turned off by this marketing campaign,” wrote one. “AI art is theft and it’s aesthetically awful. Fire the person who approved this garbage.”

“Thanks for this,” wrote another. “I was on the fence about seeing this in theaters and now I’m not going anymore.”

Credit: A24/Instagram.

Other commenters have demanded that A24 takes the artwork down. At the time of writing (18th April), it hasn’t done so.

Generative AI is a controversial subject, not least because of the technology’s reliance on the work of writers and artists to ‘train’ its algorithms. This has led to arguments that the tech takes work from flesh-and-blood creative people; meanwhile, lawmakers have pondered whether platforms like Midjourney or OpenAI are breaking copyright laws.

In March, the makers of the otherwise acclaimed indie horror Late Night With The Devil made a statement about their film’s use of AI in three brief sequences.

We’ve contacted A24 for their thoughts on this latest AI controversy. We’ll update this post with any response.

Read more: Civil War review | Alex Garland makes his own Heart Of Darkness

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