The actor was apparently unhurt and soon resumed signing autographs.
Witnesses saw the man from the fan area jump over a barrier onto the red carpet at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and rush at Pitt, touching him briefly before security guards wrestled him back across the barrier.
The man was led away in handcuffs and arrested on suspicion of battery, said Los Angeles police spokeswoman Nuria Venegas. She could only confirm that he made contact with Pitt, and could not classify it any further.
Pitt kept greeting fans and walked into the theatre.
It later emerged the man who attacked Pitt was Vitali Sediuk, who earlier this month made headlines for putting his head up America Ferrera’s dress in Cannes.
In 2012, Sediuk was slapped by Will Smith when he attempted to kiss the actor on the red carpet at the Moscow premiere of Men in Black 3.
The following year, he spent the night in an LA jail after storming the stage as Adele accepted the award for best pop solo performance at the 2013 Grammys.
In January, Bradley Cooper was targetted when Sediuk knelt and hugged the actor around his waist, putting his face in Bradley’s crotch.
And the following month, Leonardo DiCaprio became another victim when Sediuk grabbed the star around the waist like Cooper but the Hollywood star laughed off the incident.
Sediuk is now being held pending payment of $20,000 bail.
Pitt’s longtime partner Angelina Jolie stars in Maleficent, Disney’s new live action spin on its animated classic Sleeping Beauty.
Before the incident, Jolie said that the El Capitan is like a local theatre for herself, Pitt and their kids, who usually don’t attend her premieres but did on Wednesday night.
“Well, oddly, we usually go to the El Capitan, that’s where we take the kids. That’s the closest theatre to us. This is the first time they were able to come to mommy’s premiere.”