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How OpenAI’s Sora Video Tool Could Change Hollywood

OpenAI, Sora, generative AI

OpenAI’s new tool, Sora, which turns text into high-quality videos, could shake up how movies and shows are made in Hollywood.

Sora employs a neural network trained on video examples to transform written scene descriptions into high-definition video clips of up to 60 seconds. Its ability to outperform other AI video generators significantly has stunned the movie and technology communities. For instance, filmmaker Tyler Perry has reportedly halted his production studio’s $800 million expansion plans due to concerns over job impacts after witnessing Sora’s capabilities, according to a report from The Guardian. 

“If one needed to quantify the economic disruption that a generative AI tool can bring to studios, look no further than the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue within the greater Atlanta area,” long-time entertainment industry executive Gilbert Galvan, who serves as vice president of strategy and innovation for XR Extreme Reach, a global unified creative and delivery platform, said in an email interview with PYMNTS. 

“Not just from the design and construction of sound stages that are up to 30,000 square feet but the secondary and tertiary labor market to support that expansion work that Mr. Perry was looking to invest,” he added. 

Galvan predicted that generative AI would force studios to rethink their investment in steep production costs. “Within the next three to five years, I see the potential of this technology to displace roles on creative and production teams,” he added. 

Sora is the latest in a series of AI-powered tools to raise alarms in the film industry, playing a significant role in the Hollywood writers’ strike last year. The deployment of AI in scriptwriting became the focal point of concern throughout the nearly five-month-long strike. 

The Writers Guild of America secured a deal mandating that studios and production companies must inform writers whether any content provided to them has been partially or entirely produced by artificial intelligence.

“The fear during the writer’s strike was the idea that AI will replace human writers,” screenwriter and filmmaker Neil Chase said in an email interview with PYMNTS. “Sora is somewhat different, as it seeks to replace actors, visual effects, stunts and locations. 

“But, at heart, you still need a good script,” Chase said. “And, if there is one thing that’s been proven thus far, it’s that AI cannot yet generate good screenplays. Likewise, Sora is still in its infancy and cannot, by itself, generate a complete movie — and certainly not a good movie.” 

Some observers argue that Sora is not a replacement but a new tool for Hollywood, akin to how computer graphics and sound editing tools were introduced. 

Phil Siegel, founder of nonprofit Center For Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation, said in an interview with PYMNTS via email that Sora will reduce the time and cost of making movies. 

For example, some movies might use Sora to generate master or establishment shots, saving the need for a whole team to travel to a destination just to capture the lead-ins for crucial scenes. The tool could also help editors add or subtract content during editing phases.

“I’m sure we’ll see creators use Sora to do whole pieces, but I expect those to be niche,” Siegel added. “It could be used, therefore, to reduce simple development and editing costs, which technically reduces hours spent creating a film, but I expect it to be used more as a tool to drive efficiency and make mundane and repetitive tasks more efficient and accurate, much like Microsoft Copilot is expected to do in the office world.”