Warner Bros starts using artificial intelligence to predict how much money movies will make, put a value on actors and decide when films should premiere

  • Warner Bros has signed with an LA startup to help make ‘greenlighting’ decisions
  • The AI system will help the legendary movie studios avoid box office flops
  • Cinelytic can assess how much a film is expected to make using scenarios
  • The platform also ranks actors by their economic impact across the film industry

Warner Bros Studios is embracing artificial intelligence to make decisions about whether films and TV shows should get made and when they should premiere.

The film studios has signed up to an AI-based software system provided by a company called Cinelytic to decide which content to commission and when it should be released. 

Cinelytic’s new AI project management system was launched for the motion picture industry last year.

Warner Bros will use the system to help make decisions around content and talent valuation, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.  

The platform can also assess the value of a star in any territory and how much a film is expected to make using several different release scenarios. 

Film analytics tools lets studios run multiple film release scenarios and per-territory and per-distributor analysis

It provides ‘talent analytics’ of movie stars in a giant database, ranking actors’ by their economic impact across the film industry, including by media type, genre and key territories.

‘In our industry, we make tough decisions every day that affect what – and how – we produce and deliver films to theatres around the world, and the more precise our data is, the better we will be able to engage our audiences,’ said Tonis Kiis, Senior Vice President, Warner Bros Pictures International Distribution

‘We are very excited to work with Warner Bros Pictures International, a leader in worldwide content, to bring the power of real-time predictive analytics to content and talent valuation decisions,’ said Cinelytic co-founder and CEO Tobias Queisser.

The platform also lets studios gain insights into how actors will increase the chances of success of a project

The AI can’t guarantee which projects will be a hit and which won’t, but it can give executives better parameters for packaging, marketing and distribution decisions, such as when to release a movie for it to be more successful.

The new platform will help Warner Bros to avoid flops at the box office, which last year included The Kitchen, Shaft and Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The platform, which was launched by Cinelytic last year, uses AI and the cloud to reduce the amount of time executives spend on ‘repetitive tasks’.

Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix was a $1 billion hit for Warner Bros last year and the studios is looking to AI to replicate its success 

WB made a few box office flops last year too, including The Kitchen, Shaft and Godzilla: King of the Monsters

It also features predictive analytics and project management tools to help movie industry professionals make faster and better decisions. 

‘The system can calculate in seconds what used to take days to assess by a human when it comes to general film package evaluation or a star’s worth,’ said Queisser.

Is this the first step towards 100 per cent machine-made entertainment? It’s unlikely, according to Queisser, as AI cannot make any creative decisions.

‘What it is good at is crunching numbers and breaking down huge data sets and showing patterns that would not be visible to humans,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter.

‘But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct.’

LA startup Cinelytic was founded in 2015 and has been building and beta-testing the platform for three years.

The company describes its mission as empowering the global entertainment industry through cutting edge tools and technology.

Its other clients include Sony Pictures, STX Entertainment and London-based Ingenious Media.

STX, which last year was responsible for flops including Playmobil and Uglydolls, became a Cinelytic client in September.


Kai-Fu Lee, the author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, told Dailymail.com the world of employments was facing a crisis ‘akin to that faced by farmers during the industrial revolution.’

Half of current jobs will be taken over by AI within 15 years, one of China’s leading AI experts has warned.

Kai-Fu Lee, the author of bestselling book AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, told Dailymail.com the world of employments was facing a crisis ‘akin to that faced by farmers during the industrial revolution.’

‘People aren’t really fully aware of the effect AI will have on their jobs,’ he said.

Lee, who is a VC in China and once headed up Google in the region, has over 30 years of experience in AI.

He is set to reiterate his views on a Scott Pelley report about AI on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m., ET/PT on CBS. 

He believes it is imperative to ‘warn people there is displacement coming, and to tell them how they can start retraining.’

Luckily, he said all is not lost for humanity.

 ‘AI is powerful and adaptable, but it can’t do everything that humans do.’ 

Lee believe AI cannot create, conceptualize, or do complex strategic planning, or undertake complex work that requires precise hand-eye coordination.

He also says it is poor at dealing with unknown and unstructured spaces.

Crucially, he says AI cannot interact with humans ‘exactly like humans’, with empathy, human-human connection, and compassion.


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