How Many Films in the Last 5 Years have Included AI?

Artificial intelligence is used in the film industry for a wide range of tasks and can be used in various levels to assist filmmakers. Many tout the advantageous benefits of AI in film for the fact that artificial intelligence contributes to one of our most precious needs – saving time. However, saving time at the cost of creativity is a huge concern that many in the film industry have voiced in relation to the impact of artificial intelligence across the film and video field. While we know that films are actively mentioning and engaging in the use of AI throughout the production process, determining exactly how many films in the last 5 years have included AI is not a simple task. 

How is AI Used in Filmmaking?

Artificial intelligence is used in filmmaking for many tasks from pre-production to post. In pre-production artificial intelligence may be used to outline or write a script, for script analysis, casting, post-production editing and the addition of visual effects, and for marketing. These are just a few of the ways that filmmakers have been using artificial intelligence behind the scenes of the film industry over the last 5 years:

  • AI in Pre-Production: artificial intelligence is used to generate storyboard concepts and to produce storyboard art, to analyze scripts identifying potential benefits (or flaws) and predicting potential box office success, to identify industry patterns and trends in audience behavior, and to facilitate creative decision making for filmmakers in the early stages of production planning.
  • AI in Production: artificial intelligence is used to generate virtual films, virtual film sets, or virtual characters. It has also been used to assist with camera tracking, to improve motion capture, or to automate mundane tasks such as lighting and film rendering.
  • AI in Post-Production: artificial intelligence is used to produce visual effects, to analyze footage and make automatic adjustments to color or contrast, for color grading, image alterations, or to create unique audio effects.

Recent uses of AI in filmmaking have gone as far as to de-age actors similarly to the way many of the filters we use on Snapchat or Instagram can do, but better. In 2022 Disney researchers released FRAN, a neural network tool which had the capacity to de-age an actor in a matter of just seconds potentially saving hours of post-production editing. A variety of AI tools that are utilized by video professionals across the industry have since been released over the past 5 years.

How Have Films Used AI in the Last 5 Years?

In an effort to determine how many films in the last 5 years have included AI, we also took a look at how films have actually used AI in their production over the preceding years. Some of the most common uses of AI in film production are focused on saving time, but others may be used to improve accuracy of data analysis, to increase sustainability, to boost suitability, or for various other purposes. 

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These are a few of the ways that many films in the last 5 years have included AI in their production process:

  • Virtual production: filmmakers have turned to artificial intelligence to create virtual sets that can be used instead of costly live-sets. The creation of incredibly complex scenes that would otherwise be difficult or far out of budget to produce can be created virtually with the support of a machine learning assistant.
  • Automation: filmmakers turn to automation for a variety of tasks for the primary purpose of saving time, but the secondary benefit of improving outcomes is often a byproduct of automation. The tasks that AI automates will free up time for creatives to focus on other tasks where AI is less valuable – such as character development or storytelling.
  • Casting: filmmakers can turn to AI to help them sift through and analyze actor performance or to find the most suitable prospects for a particular role. AI allows filmmakers to navigate much larger casting calls in a much shorter time without risking effectiveness.
  • Script Writing: filmmakers are not likely to turn to AI for the entire script writing process, but to spark creativity, create a film script outline, or for summarizing elements of a script to create the treatment, loglines, or various other features AI can be a huge time saver.

Artificial intelligence is assisting filmmakers with the creation of stronger, more detailed scripts, complex scenes, and amazing visual effects. 

Films That Have Used AI in the Past

When asking the question, “How many films in the last 5 years have included AI,” the answer is – a lot! However, it’s important to recognize that the use of AI in a film doesn’t not necessarily (nor should it) mean that the entire film was created by artificial intelligence. In fact, while the number of films that have been 100% AI produced in the past 5 years has certainly increased, it is very important to understand that AI use in film, and AI film creation are two very different concepts. AI film creation, although improving with time, still lacks some very important qualities that only a human filmmaker can contribute including intuition, emotion, creativity, and human connection.

The use of AI in films past is probably more common than you realize. The experimentation of artificial intelligence tools to produce films more efficiently is becoming more and more commonplace across the industry. As far back as 2016 we saw IBM utilizing AI to create a movie trailer with its AI tools. So, exactly what films have used AI in the last 5 years and how?  The answer is AI in some form is being used in almost every feature film you see in the movie theaters today. Whether it’s the simple use of artificial intelligence to screen actors or to improve sound effects, or something more advanced such as the use of artificial intelligence to produce the entire film – it’s happening.

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How many films have been produced since 2018? According to recent figures, 2,854 movies were released in the United States and Canada since 2018 and it’s very likely that if you were to ask, “how many films in the last 5 years have included AI,” you would get an answer very close to the same figure!

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