Tyler Perry Pauses $800 Million Studio Expansion Over AI Concerns

Photo from Tyler Perry’s Instagram

Tyler Perry Pauses $800 Million Studio Expansion Over AI Concerns

By Movieguide® Contributor

After OpenAI released an update on its AI video tool, Sora, Tyler Perry paused an $800 million studio expansion and began raising red flags about the future of the entertainment industry.

The most recent showcase of Sora, which took place on Feb. 15, revealed AI-generated videos that were consistently indistinguishable from real life. The tool asks users for a prompt and then quickly returns a video based on the content provided. Though Sora has yet to be released to the public, its implications for the future of the entertainment industry will be profound once it is available for general use.

While some industry heads may be salivating at the idea of Sora, others are concerned about its impact on professionals across all sectors.

“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,” Tyler Perry told The Hollywood Reporter.

“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,” Perry continued.

Perry believes that introducing Sora’s technology into Hollywood raises a major issue for everyone in the industry, not just the actors. He believes standards and restrictions need to be put into place before the technology is introduced to Hollywood; otherwise, nobody will be safe from its effects.

“Everything right now is so up in the air. It’s so malleable,” Perry said. “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.”

“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,” he added. “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.”

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

“I think of all the constructions workers and the 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,” Perry added.

While Perry is hesitant to embrace AI as the future of the industry, he revealed that he implemented the tool into two upcoming movies to digitally age his appearance rather than applying aging makeup on set.

“That kept me out of makeup for hours,” Perry said. “In post and on set, I was able to use this AI technology to avoid ever having to sit through hours of aging makeup.”

This is only the tip of the iceberg for AI’s use. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, it could even save productions from having to build sets or travel to shoot in certain locations.

“If I wanted to be in the snow on 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,” Perry said. “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.”

Nonetheless, as video-generation AI reaches Hollywood, Perry hopes studios will prioritize the health of the industry over their bottom lines.

“I just hope that as people are embracing this technology… 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,” he said.

Movieguide® previously reported on Perry:

Tyler Perry credits family as one of the most important themes in his movies. 

“Family is just so important to everything that we do,” Perry told Movieguide®. “Those of us who have great families, that love big huge families or small families or love our families that don’t like our family so much, I think it’s just something that everybody can relate to.”

Inspiration from his family led to Perry’s most famous character, Madea. The filmmaker says he looked to his mother and aunts when creating the character. 

“These women I grew up with…[were] so wonderful and so loving and so caring, but will knock you upside the head one second and pray for you the next and take you to the hospital,” he laughed. “You know, those women? This is an homage to them for sure.

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