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Tyler Perry Gains Scathing Backlash After Scrapping Studio Expansion for AI


Summary

  • Tyler Perry is putting his $800 million studio expansion on hold due to concerns about AI advancements, particularly OpenAI’s Sora.
  • Perry is torn between seeing the creativity and efficiency benefits of AI in film production and worrying about potential job losses in the industry.
  • Despite using AI in his upcoming movies, Perry expresses a deep concern for the impact on human workers and calls for compassion and unity in the face of technological advancements.



Tyler Perry has stoked a fiery online reaction to comments made in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter on the subject of AI advancements in the entertainment industry. Perry, who has recently been promoting the new movie Mea Culpa, revealed in the interview that he is indefinitely halting a massive $800 million expansion of his Atlanta studio due to advancements in artificial intelligence, particularly OpenAI’s Sora.

In an expansive conversation, Perry delivered a very unclear and contradictory message about AI, which many online took in a way that the filmmaker probably did not mean, but as usually happens in the world of social media, once the genie is out of the bottle, it is hard to put back in.

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Perry was directly asked how he believes the almost unrestricted advancement in AI programs is going to impact the industry in the near future, and disclosed the revelation about his halted studio expansion. He said:

“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.


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.”

These comments instantly spread over X/Twitter, and reactions were pretty scathing. As can be seen in the small selection of posts below.




Does Tyler Perry Want AI to Rule the Entertainment Industry?

Tyler Perry at the BET Awards
BET

Perry’s reaction to AI’s rapid development is twofold. On one hand, he recognizes the immense opportunities AI presents for creativity and efficiency, allowing filmmakers to conjure up any scene or setting with unprecedented ease and at a fraction of the traditional costs. On the other hand, he is deeply concerned about the implications for employment within the industry. From actors and makeup artists to grips, electricians, and construction workers, AI’s capability to replace humans in many aspects of production, which would result in a devastating lost of jobs across the industry.


Although Perry does admit that he has used AI in two of his upcoming movies, in his next breath, he is very clearly wanting to see some kind of action to ensure that this almost dystopian eventuality from playing out. He said:

“Everything right now is so up in the air. It’s so malleable. The technology’s moving so quickly. I feel like everybody in the industry is running a hundred miles an hour to try and catch up, to try and put in guardrails and to try and put in safety belts to keep livelihoods afloat. But me, just like every other studio in town, we’re all trying to figure it all out. I think we’re all trying to find the answers as we go, and it’s changing every day — and it’s not just our industry, but it’s every industry that AI will be affecting, from accountants to architects. If you look at it across the world, how it’s changing so quickly, I’m hoping that there’s a whole government approach to help everyone be able to sustain, is my hope.”


It is hard to quite get a full grasp on Perry’s actual stance on the matter through the majority of his interview, as his answers sway from one side of the argument to the other in quick succession. Seemingly being against AI one moment, Perry notes, “I am very, very concerned that in the near future, a lot of jobs are going to be lost. I really, really feel that very strongly.” A moment later, he adds, “I’m absolutely not feeling any pressure to use it, but I’m definitely looking at the advantages and what it brings to the table.

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By the end of the interview, it seems to be clear that Perry is torn between looking out for the human workers in the industry he is a part of, and not wanting to be left footing the bill if AI is allowed to take over and he is left behind. In conclusion, Perry ends by saying:

“I just hope that as people are embracing this technology and as companies are moving to reduce costs and save the bottom line, that there’ll be some sort of thought and some sort of compassion for humanity and the people that have worked in this industry and built careers and lives, that there’s some sort of thought for them. And I think the only way to move forward in this is to galvanize it as one voice, not only in Hollywood and in this industry, but also in Congress.”

However, it is clear that Perry’s sentiments have been lost to a world where headlines are king, and his leading quotes regarding his currently abandoned studio expansion plans are all anyone is seeing right now.


Perry’s new movie
Mea Culpa
, which stars Kelly Rowland, arrives in theaters now.

Mea Culpa

Mea Culpa

Release Date
February 23, 2024

Cast
Kelly Rowland , Trevante Rhodes , Kerry O’Malley , Sean Sagar , RonReaco Lee

Runtime
2hr

Studio
Tyler Perry Studios

Tagline
Everyone’s guilty of something.



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