Paramount Pictures apologised Thursday after publishing a poster of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film that showed the characters jumping from a burning building, with its Australian release date - September 11 - printed at the bottom.

The American movie studio deleted images of the poster, which it had placed on Australian Twitter and Facebook accounts this week, after it was slammed by users of the social media sites. ‘We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia,’ Paramount Australia said in a statement.

‘Combining that image and date was a mistake. We intended no offence and have taken immediate action to discontinue its use.’ The World Trade Center Twin Towers collapsed during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the Al-Qaeda atrocity, with dozens jumping to their deaths from the skyscrapers to escape the flames.

The film version of the 1980s comic book heroes - who are based in New York City - will be released in the United States on August 8. Twitter users expressed shock at the design of the poster. ‘I wonder why no one at the design phase thought this poster art direction was a bad idea,’ said one Twitter user, while another asked: ‘Is this really for real? What were they thinking?’ The apology was not posted on Paramount Australia’s Twitter and Facebook pages.