Tyler Perry Halts Mega-Millions Studio Expansion Over OpenAI’s Sora

By Douglas Helm | Published

tyler perry
  • Tyler Perry is pausing studio expansion after seeing OpenAI’s Sora
  • Tyler Perry called the technology “mindblowing”
  • Tyler Perry is still calling for AI regulation in Hollywood

Tyler Perry has been planning on expanding his Atlanta studio to the tune of $800 million. This ambitious project would have added 12 soundstages to the studio, but now Perry is halting operations due to the rapid advancements of artificial intelligence. Specifically, OpenAI’s newly launched text-to-video model Sora has caught Perry’s attention.

OpenAI’s Sora

Sora came out on February 15 and has been simultaneously impressing and frightening people with its ability to render video from text prompts. Perry talked to The Hollywood Reporter in-depth about AI and his thoughts on how it will affect the industry.

He said, “Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind-blowing.” Perry views the potential of Sora as a way that his productions could potentially save money by not having to travel for shoots and avoiding the costly building of sets.

AI Replacing Jobs For Tyler Perry?

Of course, Tyler Perry also employs many people for his projects, and he is also an actor, director, and producer.

Therefore, he recognizes the need for regulations to prevent AI from affecting labor, saying, “There’s got to be some sort of regulations in order to protect us,” and, “If not, I just don’t see how we survive.”

Of course, Perry is far from the only one to have this thought, as AI regulations were a major sticking point for negotiations between AMPTP and the writers’ and actors’ unions during the strikes this summer.

AI’s Rapid Expansion


As AI continues to advance and develop new capabilities rapidly, renegotiations of deals that happened over the summer will be necessary to keep AI regulated.

Many studios would likely be happy to use AI instead of human employees, so these regulations will ensure that people won’t be replaced. Tyer Perry recognizes this, as do many people in Hollywood, saying, “It makes me worry so much about all of the people in the business.”

Tyler Perry Worried For Future

Both WGA and SAG-AFTRA, the Hollywood writer and actor unions, went on a historic strike this summer where the two unions fought for better pay, protections against the use of artificial intelligence, and various other concerns.

But Tyler Perry is concerned that the whole industry will need to get on board to protect the future, saying, “It can’t be one union fighting every contract every two or three years.”

Considering how rapidly AI is advancing, Perry isn’t wrong here, as major companies like OpenAI are improving their models and adding new features on a continuous basis.

Not Opposed To The Technology

tyler perry madea

With that being said, filmmakers and producers like Tyler Perry clearly aren’t opposed to using the technology, as Perry said he recently used AI in two films that haven’t been announced yet.

According to Perry, the technology kept him out of the makeup chair for hours, saying, “I was able to use this AI technology to avoid ever having to sit through hours of aging makeup.” Perry is likely referring to VFX technology that allows VFX artists to de-age actors, like Harrison Ford in the recent Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny film.

Artificial Intelligence As A VFX Assistant

ai warfare

It is important to note that VFX artists who use this technology aren’t simply clicking a button and letting the AI do the de-aging.

Extensive VFX work is needed to create the effect, and AI and machine learning help expedite the process. In an ideal scenario, at least from a labor standpoint, AI could be used as more of an assistant to improve existing processes, rather than a replacement of workers altogether.

Obviously, there are going to be plenty of people who disagree with Tyler Perry and plenty of people who disagree with him on the AI topic. Tyler Perry himself sees the advantages of the technology while being concerned about people who are going to be put out of a job due to lack of regulation.

Perry summed up his thoughts on the topic by saying, “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.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter