Tyler Perry is reevaluating where to put his resources amid the rise of OpenAI technology.

The mega-producer told The Hollywood Reporter that his $800 million plans to expand his Atlanta-based studio have been put “indefinitely on hold” after he saw the “mind-blowing” capabilities of the artificial intelligence company’s text-to-video model, Sora. Perry spent four years planning the pricey expansion at his studio, which would have added 12 soundstages on the backlot.

“All of that is currently and indefinitely on hold because of Sora and what I’m seeing,” Perry said. “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. Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind-blowing.”

According to Perry, Sora can make it possible for productions to avoid multiple-location shoots — or even to avoid building practical sets.

“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,” he 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.”

Perry’s firsthand experience with AI goes beyond just watching a demo. He said he “just used AI in two films that are going to be announced soon,” and that the technology saved “hours” on aging makeup alone.

While Perry says he is “absolutely not feeling any pressure to use” AI, he voiced his concern about what may happen to Hollywood as a whole — particularly with below-the-line workers.

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

“I am very, very concerned that in the near future, a lot of jobs are going to be lost,” he continued. “I really, really feel that very strongly.”

DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, Tyler Perry, 2005, (c) Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection
DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, Tyler Perry, 2005, (c) Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection©Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Perry, who has an overall deal with Netflix, called for an “all hands on [deck], whole industry approach” to strategize AI’s best uses — especially in the wake of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.

“It can’t be one union fighting every contract every two or three years. 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,” Perry said. “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. I think that this is a time for galvanizing one voice in motion to help save, protect the individuals of our industry. 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.”

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