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Tyler Perry Halts $800M Studio Expansion, Citing Concerns Over OpenAI’s Sora

Tyler Perry’s planned $800 million studio expansion in Atlanta has been put on the back burner due to his growing concerns over developments in artificial intelligence.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Thursday, Perry expressed a need for the industry to get ahead of AI’s potential impact, saying, “There’s got to be some sort of regulations in order to protect us. If not, I just don’t see how we survive.”

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He went on to specifically cite OpenAI’s text-to-video tool Sora as the impetus for the expansion stoppage. “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. All of that is currently and indefinitely on hold because of Sora and what I’m seeing.”

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Perry clarified that he’s not against AI, sharing that he’s used the tech in two of his upcoming films, opting to age himself in post-production instead of in a makeup chair.

While he acknowledged the potential of AI to assist in filmmaking, allowing him to create sets with text instead of by traveling, he fears for the jobs that could be lost to automation. “It makes me worry so much about all of the people in the business. 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,” he said.

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Perry added that he hopes the value of human workers isn’t lost in the shuffle. “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.”

Last week, Perry expanded his deal with Netflix, with the streamer adding a multi-year, first-look series pact with him to the previous feature film pact he sealed in October.

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