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Theatrical premiere of first AI-written movie cancelled following outcry

21 Jun 2024 | Rasmus Larsen |

The Last Screenwriter was set for a limited theatrical premiere this weekend, but it has now been canceled after receiving 200 pre-release complaints from the public.

Can AI – artificial intelligence – make movies? It is a question that divides Hollywood, and it was the central issue during last year's Hollywood strike, where screenwriters sought protection against the use of AI.

In 2024, the answer seems to be a partial yes, but whether audiences are ready is another matter entirely.

The Last Screenwriter was scheduled for a limited showing at The Prince Charles Cinema in London, England, with the first screening planned for Sunday, June 23. The premiere would have been the first for a feature movie written entirely by AI, as reported by the UK's The Daily Beast.

However, the cinema received 40 complaints on the first day after promoting the planned screening, and an additional 160 complaints overnight. As a result, the premiere has been canceled.

Can machines replace humans?

The team behind the movie explains that it started as an experiment and a question: Can machines replace humans in art and storytelling? - "What started out as an experiment quickly turned into an ambitious project. We wanted to find out if artificial intelligence is able to write an entire feature film and how good this film would be if produced by a professional team," Spotlight Media Productions, the team behind it, writes on the movie's website.

The Last Screenwriter

The Last Screenwriter. Photo: Spotlight Media Productions

ChatGPT tells the story of Jack

The entire script was written by AI, specifically ChatGPT 4.0, based on prompts from the team. They then selected the best sequences. Documentation is available on the website. The rest of the movie was produced in the usual way with real actors, cameras, editing etc. The story follows "Jack, a celebrated screenwriter, finds his world shaken when he encounters a cutting-edge AI scriptwriting system. Initially skeptical, he soon realises the AI not only matches his skills, but even surpasses him in empathy and understanding of human emotions. Torn between his pride and fear of obsolescence, Jack is offered a chance to write a film solely with the AI". Also read: A.I. will replace 90% of animation jobs, predicts DreamWorks co-founder The movie has received funding in Switzerland.

You can watch it for free soon

The movie was never intended for a wide cinema release, but instead of the planned limited premiere in London, The Last Screenwriter will not be shown on the big screen at all. - "If screenwriters take the time to watch the film and read about the process and why we made this film, I can't imagine they will condemn us or me because I am one of them," director Peter Luisi told The Daily Beast. "I could probably make a lot of money from this film, but I choose not to because I don't want people to say: 'You're profiting from our misery, and you're using this as a marketing tool to make money.' I want to do this as a contribution." If you are curious to see if AI can write a good script, mark your calendar for July 11, 2024, when The Last Screenwriter is set to be released for home viewing. It will be free to watch. In the meantime, there is more information on the website here.

The Last Screenwriter – trailer

- Source: The Daily Beast, Spotlight Media Productions

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