In a move that will be of interest to prestige international distributors, Fox Searchlight will release Steve McQueen’s potential awards contender Twelve Years A Slave on Dec 27 in the US. Summit International handled sales outside the US.

Twelve Years A Slave will go out in a limited platform release prior to wide expansion in early 2014.

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in a potentially career-changing role as a 19th century African-American man born free in New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana before the Civil War.

The cast includes McQueen leading man Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch.

McQueen [pictured] and John Ridley adapted the novel by Solomon Northup.

The British film-maker shot to fame with his first two features, Hunger and Shame.