Warner Bros.movie division has signed a deal to use AI entertainment analytics company Cinelytic’s latest project management system to better decide which movies to produce in the future.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cinelytic’s system “can assess the value of a star in any territory and how much a film is expected to make in theaters and on other ancillary streams.” It is being employed by Warner Bros. to “reduce the amount of time executives spend on low-value, repetitive tasks and instead give them better dollar-figure parameters for packaging, marketing and distribution decisions, including release dates.”

Cinelytic was founded in 2018 by Tobias Queisser and has since signed deals with Ingenious Media (Adrift, Blinded by the Light), Productivity (The Little Hours) and STX Entertainment (Playmobil: The Movie, UglyDolls) to use the AI-driven system. The company also received $2.25 million in funding from T&B Media Global, a Thailand based production company with a focus on audiences in Thailand and China.

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Speaking with THR, Queisser and Warner Bros. Senior VP of Distribution Tonis Kiis praised the system’s capability to “calculate in seconds what used to take days to assess by a human”:

“Queisser: “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.”

Kiis: “We make tough decisions every day that affect what — and how — we produce and deliver films to theaters around the world, and the more precise our data is, the better we will be able to engage our audiences.”

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The tool is said to be especially useful in the festival circuit, where studios regularly enter bidding wars for presented films after having only a small window of hours to make these same assessments.

Queisser attempted to assuage fears over the use of an AI system to automate a human process, stating that the AI would not be fully replacing humans as “you still need experience and gut instinct.”

“Artificial intelligence sounds scary. But right now, an 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. But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct.”

What do you make of this new deal for Warner Bros. to implement AI?