Billionaire Filmmaker Tyler Perry Discusses OpenAI Sora’s Impact On Hollywood

"I had no idea until I saw recently the demonstrations of what it’s able to do. It’s shocking to me."

Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is sounding alarms about A.I. use in Hollywood. Noam Galai/Getty Images for Netflix

A new development from OpenAI may further encroach on Hollywood’s territory. On Feb. 15, OpenAI introduced a new A.I. application called Sora, which is capable of generating complex videos from written prompts. The A.I. tool immediately shook the entertainment industry. Tyler Perry, the billionaire actor and filmmaker, said Sora led him to halt a $800 million plan to expand his production company, Tyler Perry Studios, in Atlanta since “there is no need to do it,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview last week.  

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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,” he told the trade publication. 

Last year, when the actors and writers of Hollywood were striking, A.I. was one of the highly contested topics during negotiations. For the critics of the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) contract, the final A.I. protections that came out of the deal did not go far enough to prevent studios from potentially using the technology in ways that were detrimental to actors. But SAG leader Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said when the contract was ratified that he believed the labor organization’s approach and outcome “were the best possible way to address A.I. at this time with these companies and in this industry.” 

Perry pointed out several ways Sora could affect people’s livelihoods in the industry. It can create scenery that would typically be built on film sets, for example. He revealed that he’d already used A.I. in two upcoming films, where instead of using hair and makeup artists to age himself, he just used the technology on set and in post-production. 

As a studio owner, Perry can and has benefited from using A.I. as a cost saver, but said he’s concerned about the amount of jobs that will be lost in the process. In stopping his studio expansion, he admitted that contractors and construction workers will already be losing out on an opportunity.    

“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,” Perry told the Hollywood Reporter. 

In the interview, he repeatedly said that Hollywood would have to unite in order to protect the future of its workers as A.I. continues to advance. Specifically the labor unions, which he said shouldn’t individually be “fighting every contract every two or three years.”  

“I know each union is individual, and I know that unions have stood with each other in times of negotiation,” he said. “But I think that this is a time for galvanizing one voice in motion to help save, protect the individuals of our industry.”

Billionaire Filmmaker Tyler Perry Discusses OpenAI Sora’s Impact On Hollywood