Billionaire filmmaker Tyler Perry is aware of the advantages OpenAI’s text-to-video model Sora poses, and it’s why his approximately $800 million Atlanta studio expansion project is on hold. But he’s also concerned about its impact on the labor force in the industry.

The Madea series creator threw down almost $800 million to expand his 330-acre Atlanta studio, a project that sought to extend the production facility by adding 12 additional soundstages. But mid-construction, Perry halted everything because of Sora.

Sora was created by OpenAI, creators of ChatGPT, and debuted on Feb. 15. The feature generates full-length videos based on a user’s prompt. Therefore, filmmakers can create scenes through Sora in minutes versus building sets and shooting scenes.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Perry explained he kept a close eye on AI’s technological advancements, and when Sora came out, it changed the game for filmmaking companies. 

The 54-year-old  mogul stopped construction because it came into question how Sora could benefit Tyler Perry Studios. 

“I no longer would have to travel to locations. 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,” Perry 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.”

With the benefits of Sora in mind, Perry couldn’t shake the unavoidable truth that would follow recruiting Sora in some of his productions—layoffs.

“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,” Perry told the outlet. “The technology’s moving so quickly. I feel like everybody in the industry is running a hundred miles an hour to try and catch up, to try and put in guardrails and to try and put in safety belts to keep livelihoods afloat. But me, just like every other studio in town, we’re all trying to figure it all out. I think we’re all trying to find the answers as we go, and it’s changing every day — and it’s not just our industry, but it’s every industry that AI will be affecting, from accountants to architects.”

Perry knows many film companies would choose to utilize Sora because it slashes production costs. The Good Deeds actor witnessed how beneficial AI technology is, using it for aging makeup instead of sitting for hours with actual makeup artists. However, he stated he wasn’t feeling pressured to use AI but wanted to consider the advantages and figure out how to go about things without impacting his employees’ lives.

“So I’ve got two sides here to this thing. For me, I’m looking at my business and the bottom line, but I’m also very concerned about all the people that I have trained and brought up in this industry. I’m concerned about what will happen to them,” he said.

Perry suggested an “all hands on deck” approach to the threat of AI on the labor force, from industry heads to the government. He understands that companies want to cut costs and benefit from this sort of technological advancement. But he hopes they maintain compassion for humanity and those who have worked in the industry and “built careers and lives.”

“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. “I think of all of the construction workers and contractors who are not going to be employed because I’m not doing this next phase of the studio because there is no need to do it.”

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