April 13, 2024


Tyler Perry has seen demonstrations of what AI can do. While he is astonished, he’s also sounding an alarm.

Perry is already voting with his wallet on the subject. His plans for an $800 million expansion of his Atlanta studio are on hold after seeing a demonstration of OpenAI’s text-to-video model Sora, which has created a stir with its cinematic video.

In a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, Perry seemed to be warning filmmakers that they are staring into the abyss.

“Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind-blowing,” he said. While the businessman in him sees the opportunity, he also expressed worries about the people who work in the business. “There’s got to be some sort of regulations in order to protect us. If not, I just don’t see how we survive.”

He continued, “I have been watching AI very closely and watching the advancements very closely. I was in the middle of, and have been planning for the last four years, about an $800 million expansion at the studio, which would’ve increased the backlot a tremendous size, we were adding 12 more soundstages. All of that is currently and indefinitely on hold because of Sora and what I’m seeing. I had gotten word over the last year or so that this was coming, but I had no idea until I saw recently the demonstrations of what it’s able to do. It’s shocking to me.”

It’s easy to see how many jobs could be eliminated when Perry describes what AI can do.

“I no longer would have to travel to locations. If I wanted to be in the snow in Colorado, it’s text. If I wanted to write a scene on the moon, it’s text, and this AI can generate it like nothing. If I wanted to have two people in the living room in the mountains, I don’t have to build a set in the mountains, I don’t have to put a set on my lot. I can sit in an office and do this with a computer, which is shocking to me.

“It makes me worry so much about all of the people in the business. Because as I was looking at it, I immediately started thinking of everyone in the industry who would be affected by this, including actors and grip and electric and transportation and sound and editors, and looking at this, I’m thinking this will touch every corner of our industry.”

Perry has used AI in two films that are going to be announced soon.

“I absolutely think that it has to be an all hands on [deck], whole industry approach. It can’t be one union fighting every contract every two or three years. I think that it has to be everybody, all involved, in how do we protect the future of our industry, because it is changing rapidly, right before our eyes. I think of all of the construction workers and contractors who are not going to be employed because I’m not doing this next phase of the studio because there is no need to do it.”



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