Hollywood is quietly using AI to help decide which movies to make

Hollywood is quietly using AI to help decide which movies to make

By James Vincent

The film world is full of intriguing what-ifs. Will Smith famously turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix. Nicolas Cage was cast as the lead in Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, but he only had time to try on the costume before the film was canned. Actors and directors are forever glancing off projects that never get made or that get made by someone else, and fans are left wondering what might have been.

For the people who make money from movies, that isn’t good enough.

Los Angeles-based startup Cinelytic is one of the many players in this space, promising that AI will be a wise producer. The company licenses historical data about movie performances over the years, then cross-references it with information about films’ themes and key talent, using machine learning to tease out hidden patterns in the data. Its software lets customers play fantasy football with their movie, inputting a script and a cast, then swapping one actor for another to see how this affects a film’s projected box office.