What Is Studio A24's AI 'Civil War' Ad Controversy About? All We Know So Far

A24 has released a series of epic new posters touting its acclaimed film Civil War. However, there’s just one problem, all the five posters are AI generated.

Updated on Apr 19, 2024  |  01:43 AM IST |  39.3K
Exploring The Controversy About Studio A24's AI 'Civil War' Ad
Kirsten Dunst in Civil War (IMDb)

A24 has released a series of AI posters featuring the film Civil War, showcasing post-apocalyptic scenes in major US cities devastated by conflict. The images depict a blackened wreck in Las Vegas, a floating gun unit in a lake outside Los Angeles, troops on patrol in San Francisco, ruins in Miami, and tour boats full of refugees on the Chicago River. The posters suggest war-torn destruction in iconic locations.

None of the images posted were actually in the movie. The campaign for Civil War, A24's most expensive production to date, has caused some to question if it is giving potential moviegoers a false expectation of what they will see. The images make the film appear like a movie with twice the budget.

A24 creates controversy by releasing AI Civil War posters 

The ads were posted on Instagram and used as physical posters in a couple of locations. A source close to the movie said the images help imagine the nationwide impact of the film’s fictional war. “These are AI images inspired by the movie,” the source said. “The entire movie is a big ‘what if’ and so we wanted to continue that thought on social — powerful imagery of iconic landmarks with that dystopian realism.”



The use of artificial intelligence in creating images has caused backlash and led to notable geographic and landmark mistakes. The images include Marina Towers buildings in Chicago on opposite sides of a river, a car with three doors in Miami, and a giant swan in a Los Angeles lake. Some believe these AI fails are meant to be paddleboats, but the actual swan doesn't look like one.

“None of this happens in the movie,” wrote one reader on A24’s Instagram post. “I don’t understand this campaign. U are selling a movie that doesn’t exist and it’s very bizarre. I love a24 with all my heart but i am so bloody confused about what happened with this film.”

“You know DAMN well how the film community feels about the use of AI Generated content,” wrote another user. “And the backlash [to AI generated stills featured in the horror film] Late Night With The Devil was more than enough to make that transparently clear to everyone: WE DO NOT WANT THIS. How stupid of your marketing team to even think this was acceptable. We are trying our hardest to fight against the push of opening Pandora’s Box with this shit and here you are willfully ignoring everyone’s concerns in that matter.”

The Late Night With the Devil controversy, involving AI in creating title cards for a 1970s-era late-night talk show, was a recent controversy involving IFC Films/Shudder, which received significant backlash on social media.

The film’s directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes defended the usage, saying, “In conjunction with our amazing graphics and production design team, all of whom worked tirelessly to give this film the ’70s aesthetic we had always imagined, we experimented with AI for three still images which we edited further and ultimately appear as very brief interstitials in the film.”

Civil War (IMDb)

Kirsten Dunst had a lot of anxiety about the Civil War

Despite being largely praised by critics, Kirsten Dunst said she was initially anxious about whether this positive reception would swing the other way.

"I’ve had a lot of anxiety about this movie coming out and being reviewed, because it could go either way. You put yourself out there," the actress shared during an exclusive interview with Digital Spy.

"I feel like without risk there is no reward, and Alex is really a provocative filmmaker and someone who I wanted to work with for a long time. I was relieved when the reviews came out, let’s put it that way."


Civil War is a 2024 dystopian film directed and written by Alex Garland. Set in the near future, it follows a team of journalists traveling across the United States during a civil war that has engulfed the nation. The ensemble cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jesse Plemons, Sonoya Mizuno, and Nick Offerman.

Civil War premiered at South by Southwest on March 14, 2024, and was theatrically released in the United States by A24 and in the United Kingdom by Entertainment Film Distributors on April 12, 2024.

Civil War is also the studio's most expensive movie to date, with an overall cost of $50 million. The film is set against the backdrop of a second American Civil War, following a group of journalists racing to reach the White House before enemy factions take over.

ALSO READ: 'Very Tense And Emotional': Kirsten Dunst Talks About Her Civil War Scene With Husband Jesse Plemons

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