The future is now, and it's a future that will see major movie studios using artificial intelligence to help decide what movies to make, and how to release them. In recent years, several Hollywood studios have started using AI to help make decisions about the greenlight process, which can often be a timely and potentially costly one. Now, Warner Bros. has signed a new deal that will see them embracing this technology, meaning AI will, at least in some small way, help determine what movies the studio produces.
According to a new report, Warner Bros. has signed a deal with Cinelytic. The company has an AI-driven project management system that the studio will utilize in the decision-making process. It's said the studio will use the system's "comprehensive data and predictive analytics to guide decision-making" during the greenlight process. It's said the technology can assess the value of a particular star in any country, as well as how much a movie is expected to make in theaters and through other revenue streams. Cinelytic founder Tobias Queisser had this to say.
"The system can calculate in seconds what used to take days to assess by a human when it comes to general film package evaluation or a star's worth... Artificial intelligence sounds scary. But right now, an AI cannot make any creative decisions. What it is good at is crunching numbers and breaking down huge data sets and showing patterns that would not be visible to humans. But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct."
While the system can't make creative decisions, there is a gut instinct element to the movie business. On paper, something like Iron Man, a comic book movie about a superhero very few people had heard of with a lead actor who hadn't had a hit in years as its star, may not have done so well when the numbers were crunched on a system like this. And yet, Iron Man produced the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's conceivable that this technology may get in the way of some seemingly riskier bets that could pay off, despite what the data says.
That having been said, Warner Bros. suffered a string of flops last year. Movies like Blinded By the Light, The Good Liar, The Goldfinch and even the well-liked Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep all dramatically underperformed. Blinded By the Light, specifically, was a flashy and expensive Sundance acquisition, to the tune of $15 million, that didn't pan out. It's said that this technology can be particularly helpful and time-saving in possible bidding war situations that often occur at festivals. Tonis Kiis, Warner Bros. senior VP of distribution, had this to say.
"We make tough decisions every day that affect what, and how, we produce and deliver films to theaters around the world, and the more precise our data is, the better we will be able to engage our audiences."
Other studios that are currently using the technology include Ingenious Media, Productivity Media and STX. Similar to Warner Bros., STX suffered a bad string of flops in the last year and, in an increasingly volatile marketplace, having any sort of edge in avoiding such financial disasters is surely more appealing than ever. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.