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Hollywood’s A.I. Judgment Day

terminator 2 judgment day
The idea that A.I. filmmaking is on the cusp of replacing, or even displacing, traditional films and television feels far-fetched and a long way off. Photo: Paramount+
Baratunde Thurston
March 10, 2024

Just a few days before the Oscars, eight miles west of the Dolby Theatre, I drove to the old Nuart Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard to glimpse what may be the future of filmmaking in Hollywood. It was a screening of Our T2 Remake, an almost entirely A.I.-generated parody of James Cameron’s Terminator 2. I had stumbled across the film while watching one of my favorite YouTubers who covers A.I. and, without overthinking it, bought two tickets.

After all the agitation over whether artificial intelligence will destroy Hollywood, I was eager to see if “one of the world’s first A.I. feature-length films” was actually any good. Less than a month earlier, OpenAI had revealed Sora, its breakthrough generative video tool that appears to be leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors’, allowing just about anyone to turn a simple text prompt into practically photorealistic moving images. It landed with such an impact that Tyler Perry immediately decided to put his $800 million studio expansion on hold, blaming the technology’s “mind-blowing capabilities” for his reticence to invest. Maybe it was a scapegoat, but the panic in the industry is real.